The American Association of Orthodontist recommends a checkup with a registered orthodontist no later than 7 years of age.
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, early treatment may give the orthodontist the opportunity to:
Below you will find examples and illustrations of the above.
Whenever necessary, starting the orthodontic treatment earlier may be beneficial in maximising the chances of carrying out the orthodontic treatment without the loss of teeth and the orthodontic treatment can achieve results that cannot be attained once the growth of the jaws and face is complete.
In my opinion, the ideal age to begin orthodontic treatment for the majority of children is between 10-12 years old so all the adult teeth are aligned and the bite is corrected simultaneously. It may be desirable to start sooner for a small percentage of children. For example when there is delayed eruption of permanent teeth, suspicion of impacted teeth, mal-alignment of the upper front which may contribute to teasing at school or reduced self-esteem, or when it is desirable to modify the growth of the jaws with the intention of improving the facial profile harmony and symmetry.
When there is a suspicion that permanent teeth are becoming impacted specific simple interventions, such as widening of the upper dental arch and creating space, may assist in normalising the position of the adult teeth. In cases when the child has a narrow dental arch or smile, widening the upper dental arch minimises the likelihood of the child requiring extraction of teeth and may assist in spontaneously improving the alignment of the teeth.
Below you will find some examples of what to look out for as a parent and what treatment modalities are available.
Whilst I recommend assessment of a child's developing dentition by a specialist or a consultant in orthodontics, in my clinic I consider it to be desirable to start orthodontic treatment before age 10 for only 10% of chiildren. I believe that starting treatment before 10-11 years of age for 90% of children confers few advantages but on the contrary, if one starts too early one has to balance time off school, the possibility of treatment/burden fatigue due to the long treatment duration and the additional expense of orthodontic treatment that may not be necessary.