Depending on your age, you may remember that your friends who had braces tended to have the appliances installed when they were teens. These days, however, children often have braces at a much younger age. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children have their first orthodontic screening by the time they reach the age of seven.
Why so early? According to Dr. Thomas Cangialosi, professor of Orthodontics at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, age six or seven is about the time permanent teeth begin to come in. It is also the point when alignment problems become apparent.
"Because bones are still growing, it's an ideal time to evaluate a child," Dr. Cangialosi said in an article from the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine. "Then we can determine what orthodontic treatment, if any, may be needed either now or in the future."
Early treatment takes advantage of the fact that a child is still growing. It may be much easier for an orthodontist to manipulate a younger patient's dental arches and jaw. By doing so, there is a better chance that adult teeth will emerge in the correct position.
Dr. Cangialosi noted, however, that early intervention may not be the best treatment option for all situations. It's possible, though, that starting braces at a younger age could shorten additional treatment later.
Although ideally you should strive to follow the AAO's recommendations, it's never too late to begin orthodontic treatment. If you're interested in learning more about how to improve your smile, contact a New York City orthodontist today! The staff at Upper Eastside Orthodontists would be happy to meet with you.