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Orthodontist Visit for 7-Year-old?

My son went for his 6 month dental check-up yesterday and while his teeth are still cavity-free, he does have 2 crooked top front teeth AND an underbite. The dentist and hygenist both suggested that he see an orthodontist, but didn't indictate that it was urgent. My question...what can an orthodontist do for a child this age? Does anyone have a child that went for a consultation this early? What happened? Good experience, or bad? I've known forever that my son would need braces some day, but didn't think I'd be considering it at age 7.

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I went to my first ortho appt when I was eight, I had several baby teeth removed because the adult teeth were not coming in where they were supposed to be and therefore not pushing the baby teeth out. I didn't actually get braces until I was 11, but by going in earlier, they were able to try some things that allowed my teeth to correct themselves before the braces.

I would go for a consultation and ask the orthodontist these questions. I started going to the orthodontist when I was 3. That's how bad my teeth were. I am so grateful to my parents that they gave me the gift of straight teeth! BTW, at 3 I got a spacer. I didn't get braces until I was 12. I think they can do a lot of prep work for braces in the younger years....
Good Luck!

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Americans are obsessed with perfect teeth, I told my husband he should have bee an Orthodontist!!!
My son had crooked teeth and they suggested to see an Ortho. He never did,because I believe they should first get all their grown up teeth before you start treatment.
He is 16 years old and has perfect straight teeth.
Of course they tell you, yes you should do this and that, that is their business.
My daughter on the other hand had a crossbite and I started treatment at age 11.
She has braces right now in freshmen year of High school .
Hope that helped a little.

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I find it interesting that they are recommending that children go see the orthodontist so young these days. I have a small mouth and always knew that I would have to have braces in order to straighten my teeth out. But, I never went to the orthodontist until I was about 13 or 14 years old. My dentist pulled my teeth to allow my adult teeth to come in, and I didn't go see an ortho until all my baby teeth were out and it was time to have my braces put on.

I'm 42 now, so I guess I don't know how times have changed, but I've been seeing orthodontic braces on children younger and younger and can't help but wonder if it's good to have braces that young. Shrug. I don't know.

My daughter will have to have braces on at least her top teeth. She's almost 10, and I haven't taken her to see an ortho yet. Her dentist hasn't even suggested it, just let me know that she'll probably need them. Right now, he's monitoring her mouth and teeth and alignment.

My only grave concern with children getting braces so young is the fact that it takes a lot of prevention to make sure their mouths don't end up with a lot of cavities from not brushing and not taking proper care of their teeth while they have the braces on. I have mixed feelings about young kids and braces, I guess.

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Luckily, my Grandpa and Uncle are dentisit and both orthodontists too, so at the age of 3 right after they took away my pacifiers, I got an expander retainer. I had a series of these that moved different parts of my jaw and teeth around. I had a very small mouth and larger sized teeth, plus a cross bite and the damage of having a pacifier in 24/7 for 3 years. From the time I was 3 till 11 I had some type of retainer or expander at all times. Then, at 11, I got traditional braces, I also had the head-gear for a while, the rubberbands from top braces to the bottom, and an expander while I had braces, too!!! I got them off the day before freshman in high school pictures ( helps to have connections). I never got any cavities while having all these items in my mouth, but I was always a good brusher, and we didn't eat alot of sweets at home anyway. I still wear reatiners to bed a few nights a week, btu I have a nice straight set of teeth, and I didn't have to have anything but my wisdom teeth pulled ( that was not till I was 23).

Go - at least get the consultation, so you have an idea what you are in for - and can start planning for the expense! Thank goodness mine was all in the family, because my parents didn't make much and probablyy couldn't have afforded a fraction of what I had done if they had to pay for it.

Good Luck!


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My daughter had really crooked teeth by the age of 7 years old. We took her in to see an orthodontist around her 8th birthday. He suggested braces 6 months later. She had them on for a little over a year and now her teeth are really pretty. However she will need braces again in another several years for her overbite. The braces early basically helped prevent years of work later and her self esteem is much better. She smiles all the time! Orthodontists go both ways on it...it just depends on who you see. Also, for overbite/underbite issues, I would suggest going with an orthodontist that treats the problem without head/neck gear. The little ones hate that stuff. Our new orthodontist can correct the problem without the use of that stuff.

My daughter went to an ortho for the first time at age 8 looking down the road to needing braces. Our ortho and dentist are working together to have some "preventative" work done so she won't have to have braces for too long and not spend so much $$ to have them. She already has had some dental work done (teeth pulled etc) in preparation for the braces. She has 2 missing teeth that they see will never come in. So they are doing some of this work to be able to pull her teeth together instead of having implants which are way more costly than braces. She is now 12 and is looking at finally getting the braces this year. They didn't want to do the braces too early because she would maybe have to have them twice then and you may know how insurance handles that!!
So, you may want to start the process to see if there is anything they can do to already help in the long run. The ortho we go to doesn't charge anything for consults only when the braces begin. I'm that cost is in there somewhere but I'm not paying for each visit so far.
They also are really helpful in figuring the cost already so we could prepare for our Flex benefit.

Good luck!!

Hi S.,

My daughter is 7 and she just started phase 1 of her ortho treatment in Dec. She has an expander (retainer) to make room for her teeth to come in so they aren't crooked. It is not painful for her and very easy to take care of. As for the underbite, I had that and started my ortho treatments as well at the age of 7. My daughter has no problems with it and doesn't mind going since it doesn't hurt. Since Dec 1st (when she got her expander) I have seen a tremendous difference in the two front teeth that were sideways. They now look normal!

I also wanted to comment about the post with the breaking of the jaw comment, my underbite is pretty bad and braces was not able to correct it. I still have a pretty severe underbite and they did say the only way to correct mine is to have that surgery to remove part of the jaw bone and wire it shut so that it heals correctly. Obviously, they say there is no need to do that unless it starts creating problems for me. I've lived with it for 30 years and have no problems with my jaw. Just wanted to let you know.
Good luck with it! Hope this helps!

I would go for a consultation and ask the orthodontist these questions. I started going to the orthodontist when I was 3. That's how bad my teeth were. I am so grateful to my parents that they gave me the gift of straight teeth! BTW, at 3 I got a spacer. I didn't get braces until I was 12. I think they can do a lot of prep work for braces in the younger years....
Good Luck!

I know alot of other Moms have weighed in... I'm not a Mom who has been through the braces situation yet, but I can speak from another perspective. I had braces during my early high school years, and while it seems shocking now, it's almost a rare thing to see kids with braces in high school. It seems like more and more kids are having their braces sooner rather than later. My thoughts on the subject? See if you can get a consult with an orthodontist... He'll thank you in a few years when he has a beautiful smile during the most awkward time in his life - puberty.

I saw you live in Omaha, can I recommend seeing Dr. Heurter's office on 72nd and Mercy? Good guy, weird name.

My son had what's called a supernumerary tooth, an extra tooth above his 2 upper front teeth that was pushing down on them making them crooked. He had oral surgery to remove it.
My daughter was the youngest of her class to start orthodontia due to a tooth that was so out of alignment it was coming through the gum above another permanent tooth. The upside was that she was out of her braces by 8th grade.
Even if he doesnt need treatment now you will be advised of what he needs in the future.

I just read and article saying that it's good to get them into the ortho at around 7 so they can check things out. The article mentioned that they can potentially do some work now (i.e pull teeth to make room for others, etc.) in order to make treatment options easier later. They said the average length of braces for people that don't do this is 2 years while the average that do is only 1 year. I'd take him in.

Definitely check it out. At least go to a consultation....I used to work in the dental field and its a lot easier if you get things started early because sometimes you can catch things early and do minor adjustments and maybe not even need braces in the future. Or if braces are needed in the future, they can do adjustments so that the braces wont be need long.

My son first saw the orthodontist at 4, because the dentist was so concerned about his crossbite. The ortho said it was too young, but he went in once a year or so to check how his permanent teeth were coming in. They came in very slowly, so it wasn't until he was 9 that they put in a spacer, and now braces. Had his permanent teeth come in at a more normal pace, he'd probably have started at 7.

It can't hurt to go in and check it out. I really like Woodlake Family Dental, if you're in the Twin Cities.

I went for the first time when i was 8. I had two teeth comign in crooked. They pulled the baby teeth next to them so that they would straighten out on their own. I went again two years later for the same reason. Now while my teeth are not perfect I never did have to get braces because the crooked teeth did straighten out once they had extra room. Getting four baby teeth pulled is cheeper than years of braces. It can't hurt to talk to the ortho & see what they recommend. Even if he will still need braces later for other issues, if you can get the crooked teeth to straighten some on their own first the cost & pain will be less later.

Hi S. - my son who is now 17 had ortho work at the age of 7 as well. He had an underbite and a gap between his two front teeth. while our dentist didn't recommend that we take him to an orthodontist at his age, I took him on my own. I've heard horror stories about underbites if not treated early. Plus, I think think teeth can really affect self-esteem.

So he started at the age of 7 and had an expander for the top jaw along with head gear to pull the jaw forward and over the bottom teeth. It didn't take long and he was doing really well. He then had a couple of braces placed on his front teeth to pull them together and eliminate the gap. By the time he was 8 or 9 he was completely done wtih the orthodontist. He's had his teeth checked a couple of times as a teen but we've not had to do anything more.

Good luck

my co-workers son has an orthodontic consult too; he is also young. He has an underbite too, and apparently (not to freak you out, just being honest) one of the treatment options is to break his jaw and reset the underbite (apparently in his case it's the only option for correcting his underbite.

Definitely this is the time to start. Now is when your son's pallet is growing, and an expander retainer can make sure he has plenty of room to fit in all those adult teeth he has coming in. Ask the orthodontist and they will tell you the bones at the roof on the mouth have not finished growing and it's much less painful to work with it now. In my time, middle school and high school was the time for braces. And it was 7 years of pure misery. My son will only have 2 years of braces (and be finished before he's out of 6th grade) and as of right now he only has one year left to go.

I went to my first ortho appt when I was eight, I had several baby teeth removed because the adult teeth were not coming in where they were supposed to be and therefore not pushing the baby teeth out. I didn't actually get braces until I was 11, but by going in earlier, they were able to try some things that allowed my teeth to correct themselves before the braces.

I was a nanny to 7 children for several years. They all had small mouths and huge teeth. When a child reaches about 7-8 years old they start growing their adult ears, teeth, feet, hands, etc.... Every one of those kids started having teeth pulled and using a Bionator. The Bionator makes the top and bottom teeth meet better and it gets the teeth started moving towards where they will end up permanantley. They all had braces by Jr. High and were out of them by High School with just the use of a retainer at night.

Our dentist suggested my daughter (age 8) see an orthodontist also due to a cross bite and small mouth with very crowded teeth. We sought the opinion of two orthodontists independently, not telling the second what the first had said. They both gave us the exact same opinion which made me feel good. My daughter needed work done right away, not even for cosmetic reasons, but to help her bite match up so she didn't have jaw problems down the road. She had a palate expander put in to widen her upper palate and make her top and bottom match up when she bites. Then she had top braces for about 9 months. Would her mouth/teeth have corrected itself over time....doubtful but possibly. Do I want to take that chance? NO! SHe may or may not need braces again when all her permanent teeth come in but at least she can chew now without her mouth contorting in a strange position! A consultation never hurts and is always free and you can get as many opionions as you like...

Yes, get him evaluated by an orthodontist. It is actually recommended now that they get their first evaluation at about that age. Just getting evaluated doesn't mean that they will start working on him. Also, it may take you awhile to find an orthodontist that you like and feel comfortable with. I "interviewed" 5-6 different orthodontist before we settled on the one both of my boys see. Many kids are getting their orthodontia treatment done in two phases these days. My younger son got an expander at age 9, followed by a retainer for one year. He has nothing right now, but will continue to go in for checks about every 6 months. He will probably get his braces at about age 12, depending on how and when his teeth come in. It also doesn't hurt to get more than one opinion since orthodonitia is somewhat of an art in addition to a science, and different doctors have different methods. My older son was initially told that he needed two phases, which is more expensive of course. His teeth really didn't seem that bad, and I was skeptical. Every other orthodontist who evaluated him thought they could take care of him in one stage, for about half the price of the first orthodontist. He got his braces at age 12 1/2. Good luck!

They will watch them and possibly put them in retainers. If they are already crooked there will not be enough room for big teeth and more will become crooked.

My daughter is 7 years old and had to see an orthodontist already. She had some of her permanent teeth grown in crooked on top and bottom so we were told to get a consult. We went and it was a great experience. The orthodontist that we see works very well with children. My daughter ended up needing a top retainer to close the gap between her two front teeth. It pretty much looks like staples on her two front teeth when she has the retainer in. She wears this all the time, the only time she takes it out is to clean it and to eat. They told us that braces are not normally put onto a seven year old unless they have lost most or all of their baby teeth, which my daughter has not. Eventually she will need to have braces but for now we are getting great results with the upper retainer that she has now. Hope this helps : )

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