Thursday, March 1, 2012


I am frequently asked:  "when should my child see the orthodontist for the first time?"  The American Assoc. of Orthodontists suggests age 7 and I agree.  I would also add - whenever a parent suspects a problem.  The reason age 7 is often cited is that the permanent molars are erupting so I can check their fit and evaluate whether or not any jaw growth abnormalities exist.  The permanent four front teeth are usually in or erupting and problems present as overlapping or spaced teeth, front teeth that protrude beyond the lower lip or teeth that are not able to erupt due to lack of spacing.  Jaw or skeletal growth may also be a problem as one jaw may be too far forward or too narrow relative to the other( usually blamed on the father).  You do not have to be referred by a dentist. If I determine that everything looks normal,  your child will be placed on recall and we will see them in a year or two and re-evaluate.  Simple!
 Major Myth :  You should wait until all the pemanent teeth erupt.  This is unfortunately a common problem and the reality is that eruption of teeth does not always coincide with skeletal growth or even age for that matter.  Jaw growth is so important in correcting overbites or crowding, so for some problems, treatment should be timed with the child's growth spurt instead of whether or not all the permanent teeth have erupted.  This will result in a much more esthetic facial and functional result that we can all be proud of !!!   Dr L

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