When should a child have their first Orthodontic visit?

The American Association of Orthodontists, AAO, recommends that all children visit the Orthodontist by age 7.0 years. For most children orthodontic treatment is not needed until all or most of their permanent teeth have come into the mouth. In my office early treatment is used to intercept and correct the following problems:

  1. Crowding: most Orthodontists will use a palatal expander to treat crowding. We do not use palatal expanders to eliminate crowding in the mixed dentition. We use a simple and gentle approach made available by the Damon System called the d-gainer or Dr. Damon space gaining appliance. Six braces are placed on the top teeth, two in the back and four in the front. Over a period of 8 - 10 months the crowding is resolved gently and predictably. Please view the pictures below and the patients shown in the Damon results section.
    Before   After
  2. Front dental cross bites where one or more of the top front teeth is locked behind the bottom front teeth. If not corrected early, this can cause the bottom front teeth to be pushed forward too far and cause gum problems.
     
  3. Back cross bites that are skeletal in nature. This means the upper jaw bone is too narrow for the lower jaw bone and the back top teeth are contacting the bottom back teeth improperly on one or both sides.
     
  4. Front cross bites that are skeletal in nature. This means that the top jaw is too short or in a retruded position, the bottom jaw is too long or in a protruded position, or a combination of the above. Early treatment is most important here to hopefully prevent a surgical procedure in the late teen years.
     
  5. Ectopic permanent teeth. This means that one or more of the unerupted permanent teeth is moving in the wrong direction as it continues on its eruption path. These teeth can become impacted requiring later surgical intervention if undiscovered.
     
  6. Thumb or finger sucking habits. It is very important for these habits to be stopped as the permanent top front teeth begin to erupt at about age 6.0 to 8.0 years. If the habit is allowed to persist, severe front open bites and back cross bites can develop which result in the need for extensive orthodontic