Ottawa-Gatineau Orthodontists Alliance
Children Orthodontics Treatment

When should your child have their first orthodontic checkup?

Posted by Dr. Dzimitry Zhylich, 2017-08-28

When You Smile, We Smile

Seeing your child smile is one of the most precious gifts a parent can receive. We know that keeping that smile healthy requires care and teamwork starting early on. Oral health is a team effort involving the child, their family, their general dentist and their orthodontist.


At what age should your child have their first orthodontic check-up?

To ensure healthy dental habits are formed for a lifetime, the Canadian Dental Association recommends children begin seeing their general dentist at the age of one. In addition to healthy teeth and gums, kids need teeth and jaws that are properly aligned (i.e. a good bite).


Though most orthodontic treatments don’t begin until teenage years, it’s recommended that children see an orthodontic specialist earlier. Canadian and American Associations of Orthodontists recommend that all children have a check-up with an orthodontist around the age of seven.


Lucky number seven

By the age of seven, kids have a combination of primary and permanent teeth and subtle issues around jaw and tooth development can be recognized. Spotting a problem early makes it easier to correct. Orthodontists have the skills to recognize potential issues behind a seemingly straight smile or regular bite and recommend the ideal time to treat the problem.


Ideally, the orthodontist check-up is just for peace of mind. In the event that a problem is detected, your orthodontist may recommend observing your child’s growth and development until the time for treatment is right.


How to spot a possible orthodontic problem

In some situations, your orthodontist may recommend early treatment to prevent complications and make later treatments easier. For an underbite, for example, early treatment aimed at stimulating growth of the upper jaw will be suggested. There is a limited window—typically from six to eleven years—for this treatment to be effective before the upper jaw stops growing. Treating an underbite early prevents the necessity of jaw surgery later in life.


Signs of a potential problem bite:

  1. Upper / lower jaws are forward or back (overbite or underbite).
  2. Upper and lower teeth are not touching in the front
  3. Early or late loss of baby teeth
  4. Thumb sucking
  5. Mouth breathing
  6. Crowded teeth
  7. Protruded teeth
  8. Biting the roof of the mouth


Early orthodontic check-ups are easy and important!

Unlike the medical system, you don’t need a dentist referral to see an orthodontic specialist. What if your child is already older than seven? It’s still beneficial to have an early check-in with an orthodontist, as most children begin orthodontic treatment between the ages of nine and fourteen.

Orthodontists are uniquely qualified specialists that play a key role in a great smile and bite that last a lifetime!

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