Is 7 Too Young for Orthodontics?

It’s a valid question! Some parents may think age 7 sounds too young for braces. After all, do children even have all of their permanent teeth at this age?

So why does the American Association of Orthodontists recommend that children receive their first orthodontic exam by the age of 7? Does that mean that your child will actually need braces at age 7

We’ve got tons of questions about early orthodontic treatment to answer! Here’s what you need to know:

Can a 7 year old get braces?

In short, yes 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!

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

Orthodontic treatment can work with a growing mouth of baby teeth and permanent teeth, so braces at age 7 or 8 is possible! However, Nth Degree Orthodontics believes in a conservative treatment philosophy, only recommending treatment at an early age when it will truly benefit the long-term dental health of your child.  If we wouldn’t do it on our child, we won’t do it on yours!

Why would braces at age 7 or 8 be necessary?

We won’t know if braces are necessary for your child until they receive an orthodontic exam from our experienced orthodontists. Our orthodontists are trained to detect problematic orthodontic conditions before they progress and require a more intensive treatment or a longer treatment process.

Developmental issues and dental misalignments become apparent around age 7, and it’s important that these conditions don’t go untreated. When untreated conditions progress, these can lead to:

  • Chewing difficulties
  • Speech impediments
  • Digestive problems caused by an inability to chew food properly
  • Jaw pain or tooth pain
  • Mouth-breathing
  • Poor self-esteem

As the permanent teeth are growing in around age 7, we’re able to identify problematic conditions and create a personalized treatment plan to help guide your child’s teeth and jawbones into a healthy, beautiful alignment.

What if my child doesn’t need braces?

If your child is not yet ready for braces, they’ll automatically join our Nth Degree Kid’s Club, where we’ll monitor your child’s growth and development. We call these visits “observation” appointments, and they’re always free of charge!

We’ll provide free check-ups for your child, once every 6 months, to monitor and measure facial growth, make sure baby teeth are coming out on time, and ensure permanent teeth have enough room to grow into proper positions.

Observation appointments can minimize the need for more extensive, lengthy treatment at a later age. They also allow us to keep you better informed on what treatment your child may need and when they’ll be ready for treatment.

We do everything we can to support you and help your child develop a beautiful, healthy smile! 

How Early Orthodontic Treatment Works

If your child is ready for treatment, getting “braces for 7 year olds” doesn’t always mean ‘braces’ specifically. 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 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 crowded or misaligned. 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. 

Early orthodontic treatment serves to prevent intensive treatments like jaw surgery from becoming necessary, as braces or orthodontic appliances 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.

The Bottom Line

Though age 7 sounds early, it can actually prove very beneficial to begin treatment around this age. Scheduling an orthodontic exam for your child around the age of 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.

Schedule Your Child’s First Exam

Ready to schedule your child’s first exam? Here’s what you can expect during your first visit

If you’re looking for a top orthodontist in Gaffney, Union, Duncan, West Spartanburg or East Spartanburg, we’d love to meet you! Request a complimentary exam for you or your child today.