Would My 7 Year Old Actually Need Braces?

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?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children receive their first orthodontic exam by the age of 7, but does that mean that your child will actually need braces at age 7? Why is it important that your child gets their smile examined by this early age?

We’ve got many 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 is designed to work with a mixed dentition, or a growing mouth of baby teeth and permanent teeth, so braces at age 7 or 8 is possible!

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 jaw bones into a healthy, beautiful alignment.

How Early Orthodontic Treatment Works

“Braces for 7 year olds” doesn’t have to mean ‘braces’. 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

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

Request a complimentary exam for your child today! If you’re hesitant, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. We love to hear from you.

We’re here to guide you and your child through the treatment process, from your very first visit, to your last appointment.

If you’re looking for a top orthodontist in Northwest Florida, we’d love to meet you!