Why should children have their first orthodontist visit at age 7?

Receiving an orthodontic evaluation no later than age 7 may sound too young to some parents. After all, can a 7 year old get braces? Have all of their permanent teeth even erupted at this age?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children receive their first orthodontic exam by the age of 7 to screen for potential orthodontic problems, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll start orthodontic treatment at age 7 – or at all.

Every child is different, with different needs and a unique smile growth rate! The purpose of an orthodontic evaluation with Dr. Matsumoto and our team is simply to determine if your child needs orthodontic treatment or would benefit from treatment.


Can a 7 year old get braces or Invisalign?

Yes, in some cases, a 7 year old can get braces or another orthodontic treatment. Does that mean that your child will need braces at age 7? Not necessarily! It depends on what particular problems are detected during his or her evaluation.

Every child develops at a different rate. Typically, the front teeth on the top and bottom dental arch are the first to be lost. These teeth are called the central incisors.

Orthodontic treatment is designed to be able to work with a mixed dentition, or a growing mouth of baby teeth and permanent teeth, so braces at age 7 or 8 is possible!


Why would braces at age 7 or 8 be necessary?

We won’t know if braces are necessary for your child until they receive a braces evaluation (orthodontic exam) from our dual-trained, board-certified family orthodontist and periodontist, Dr. Matsumoto.

Dr. Matsumoto is trained to detect problematic orthodontic conditions before they progress and require a more intensive treatment or a longer treatment process. And with his unique periodontal expertise, Dr. Matsumoto also assesses and optimizes your little one’s gum health.

During the evaluation, if skeletal problems were found, Dr. Matsumoto believes early intervention would help your child’s healthy growth. We are not just forcusing on teeth alignment with braces or Invisalign!

Some developmental issues and dental misalignments become apparent around 5 or 6 years old, and it’s important that these conditions don’t go undetected and/or untreated. When untreated conditions progress, these can lead to:

  • Chewing difficulties
  • Speech impediments
  • Jaw pain or tooth pain
  • Facial abnormalities
  • Mouth-breathing
  • Sleep apnea
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Gum recession

Before all permanent teeth erupt, we’re able to identify problematic conditions and create a personalized treatment plan to help guide your child’s teeth and jaw bones into a healthy, beautiful alignment.


How early orthodontic treatment works

“Braces for 7 year olds” doesn’t have to mean ‘braces’. Orthodontic appliances are often used in the younger years to create sufficient room in the mouth for all permanent teeth to erupt in alignment.

Palatal expanders
Palatal expanders are one of the most common orthodontic appliances used for children. These appliances are designed to widen a narrow palate, or upper jaw bone, to prevent teeth from growing in crowded or misaligned and to correct the bite on posterior teeth that do not fit together properly.

A number of orthodontic problems are caused by narrow jaw bones, and when the jaw bones have stabilized in the adult years, widening them or expanding them may require jaw surgery.


Why say “yes” to early treatment for your child?

Early orthodontic treatment serves to prevent intensive treatments like jaw surgery from becoming necessary, as braces can work alongside the natural development of the jaw bones.

The teeth and jaw bones then grow in the desired alignment, instead of treating them after they’ve grown into misalignment.


Schedule your child’s first exam today!

Scheduling an orthodontic exam for your child prior to age 7 allows us to intercept any problematic conditions, if necessary. Early treatment can save your child from developmental issues and discomfort caused by their condition, and it can save you money in the long run.

Remember, receiving an orthodontic evaluation doesn’t mean that your child will begin treatment! It’s simply a precautionary measure to ensure that there aren’t any problematic conditions lurking and progressing into more complex problems. Plus, it’s complimentary!

Dr. Matsumoto and our team always have you and your child’s best interest in mind! We’re not focused on “sales”, we’re focused on providing you with high-quality solutions that enable you to live your greatest quality of life.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. If you’re looking for a top children’s orthodontist at Porters Neck in Wilmington, NC, we would love to meet you.

Our Porters Neck orthodontist office is conveniently located near Super Walmart and Cape Fear Seafood Company.

Request a complimentary consultation for your child today!

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