Young patient at the orthodontist Young patient at the orthodontist

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Why Your Child Should Visit an Orthodontist by Age 7

Why Your Child Should Visit an Orthodontist by Age 7

Include an orthodontic screening on your back-to-school list

By Dr. Karen Conn (Bryn Mawr Orthodontics) 

As a mom and an orthodontist, other parents frequently ask me, "At what age should my child first visit an orthodontist?" The answer I provide often surprises parents. Even though people often associate braces or Invisalign with the teenage years, the reality is that kids should see an orthodontist much sooner. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children have a screening with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7.

Although a young child's teeth may look fine to you, there may be a subtle jaw growth or tooth developmental problem that only an orthodontist can detect during an examination. In many initial examinations, I simply recommend additional appointments every six months or year to monitor the child's growth and development. (At Bryn Mawr Orthodontics, these screenings are always complimentary.) In this way, I can ensure that treatment begins at the best possible time to achieve ideal results. However, in some instances, early treatment is recommended to prevent any impact on facial appearance later in life or to achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.

A kid's check-up at an early age can give an orthodontist the chance to:

  • guide jaw growth and permanent teeth into a more favorable position
  • lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
  • correct harmful oral habits and the side effects of a previous oral habit (thumbsucking/finger sucking habit, mouth breathing habit)
  • eliminate pain and discomfort of biting the roof of the mouth 
  • correct a crossbite
  • improve the way lips meet
  • make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated

Beyond the potential health benefits of early intervention, visiting an orthodontist early in life also gives you and your child the opportunity to build a relationship of comfort and trust with your orthodontist before beginning treatment. I find that this familiarity reduces any fear or concern that a child might have about getting braces or Invisalign when the time comes. Similarly, it helps build your confidence that you have selected the right orthodontist to perfect your child's smile.

As a parent, I know we all want to protect our child's precious smile. Through an early orthodontic evaluation, you'll be giving your child the best opportunity for a lifetime of healthy, beautiful smiles.


Karen Conn, DMD, MS is a Board-certified orthodontist and co-owner of  Bryn Mawr Orthodontics, where she specializes in Invisalign and braces for children, teens and adults. She has been recognized as a Philadelphia Magazine Top Dentist, Suburban Family Top Orthodontist, and is among the nation’s top 1% of Invisalign providers. Dr. Conn received her undergraduate and doctorate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed her residency in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics at Temple University, where she also earned a master's degree in Oral Biology.

Bryn Mawr Orthodontics serves its neighbors in Bryn Mawr, Gladwyne, Villanova, Ardmore, Haverford, Wynnewood, Narberth, Radnor, Penn Valley, Bala Cynwyd, Merion, Wayne, and the entire Main Line.

To learn more about Bryn Mawr Orthodontics contact the office today (484-383-0055) or schedule a free consultation online.

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