It’s never too late to start orthodontic treatment, but parents often wonder at what age it’s appropriate to start. At Dr. Cynthia Wong’s orthodontic office in Orland Park, we want our patients and their families to understand what is a normal timetable for different treatments and why they are necessary.
We recommend that children undergo an orthodontic assessment when they’re about seven years old, although it would be rare to begin braces or extractions at that age. Some sort of appliance may be recommended in cases of an underbite or narrow arch, but with more common malocclusions, we’d probably take a wait-and-see approach until the child is about ten. (An exception would be if the child has lost a permanent tooth, in which case they may need a space maintainer until the other permanent teeth come in.) Although adults commonly undergo orthodontic corrections for cosmetic issues such as gaps and jumbled teeth, the age of ten to fourteen is when people respond best to major corrections. This is the best opportunity to fix impacted canines, for example, because the child has all their permanent teeth but their skull bones have not yet solidified. At this age, children are also more ready for braces psychologically and are better suited to maintain their oral hygiene.