As a parent, you deal with a lot of timelines: when to complete school enrolments, when to sign up for camp, sports leagues or extracurricular activities, when to have vaccinations and dental check-ups and what time to pick your children up from friends’ houses. The list goes on, and it can be a lot to manage. Now, you’re pondering another upcoming timeline: when do you take your child to see if they need braces?

One question we get a lot at the CAO is: “How young is too young for braces?” Well, it ranges and depends on each specific patient.  We’ve known orthodontists who have dealt with newborns (special cases that involve a cleft palate or congenital facial anomalies), but on average, most children will be ready for evaluation once their first permanent molars have erupted into the mouth.  This may vary from six to eight years of age. It is a great time to consider taking your child to an orthodontist for a consultation. Your child may not need treatment for a number of years, but you will have an idea what the future may bring and can make a long-term plan.

If you’re still wondering how to read your child’s need for braces, here are some signs you might want to look out for as your child develops their permanent teeth:

  • They have difficulty chewing or biting their food
  • They may experience biting of their cheeks or lips while chewing
  • Their teeth aren’t straight and meet in an abnormal bite
  • Either their top or bottom jaws appear too small or too large
  • They have an irregular loss of baby teeth (either too early or too late)
  • They have crowding as the permanent teeth erupt
  • They are having problems with speech

When the time does come for you to introduce orthodontic care into your child’s busy schedule, feel free to reach out to us so we can help you find the right orthodontist. Although your family dentist may advise you to take your child to an orthodontist, you do not need a referral from your dentist to make an appointment.