The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children be seen by an orthodontist by the age of 7. The first permanent molars and incisors have erupted by this age and crossbites, crowding and other dental problems can be evaluated at this time. Not every child evaluated at an early age will need orthodontic treatment. Periodic visits to the orthodontist will allow for continued observation of jaw growth, and eruption of teeth.
By initiating orthodontic treatment at an early age, the orthodontist can regulate width of the upper and lower dental arches, gain necessary space for permanent teeth, avoid possible extractions of permanent teeth and correct habits such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusting. Early treatment typically sets the stage for proper dental eruption and simplified orthodontic treatment, if needed, later on.