The American Association of Orthodontists recommends screening all children by the age of 7 by a trained orthodontist. The child may not need treatment until their early teens but an evaluation at the age of seven will allow the orthodontist to ascertain future needs. If treatment is applicable at this age, then the orthodontist will suggest early treatment. This will prevent other issues like surgery or other more serious corrections later in life. This is called ‘preventative treatment’.
Early treatment is suggested if a child has spent previous years thumb-sucking, or if the child has an early or late loss of baby teeth. Also, mouth breathing and abnormal swallowing can be addressed with early treatment. Other issues are overlapping or crowding of erupting permanent teeth, obvious abnormal bite development of any kind, jaws that click or pop, biting of the cheek or into the roof of the mouth, speech problems, grinding or wearing down of teeth, and protruding teeth.