Knoxville Kids' Directory Blog

Does My Child Need Braces?

Does My Child Need Braces?

“Do you think my child needs braces” is one of the common questions that I hear from parents. Many parents believe that their child’s primary care dentist will identify any problems and refer them for an orthodontic evaluation when and if the need arises for braces. What most parents don’t realize is that the American Association of Orthodontist recommends every child have an orthodontic examination by age 7. This may seem early to most parents since at this age children haven’t lost many baby teeth. These early years are the perfect opportunity for an orthodontist to have his or her first look at your child. Orthodontists have an extra 2 – 3 years of specialty training after dental school to best identify both problems with erupting permanent teeth and the facial growth and development of your child that can be missed by parents and even primary care dentists.

Your child’s first orthodontic examination should include the following procedures:
• a set of photographs of your child’s face and teeth
• a panoramic xray to show all their developing teeth (if one hasn’t already been taken by their primary care dentist)
• a detailed orthodontic examination
• a cephalometric xray if any growth abnormalities are detected
• an explanation of any potential present or possible future issues by an orthodontic dental specialist and how to best correct or prevent these issues

The best part of this is all these services are absolutely no charge (at least they are at most orthodontist offices). The majority of children at age 7 will not require any orthodontic treatment, but certain dental and skeletal issues are best treated early. If these problems aren’t caught and treated early the options for future correction during comprehensive orthodontics (treatment when all the adult teeth are in) can be more limited. This could result in an increased likelihood of extractions of permanent teeth, surgery to bring in teeth that are stuck in the bone, more difficult/longer comprehensive orthodontic treatments, and even jaw surgery.

At East Tennessee Orthodontics we have a special program designed just for our younger patients called our Mountain Climbers Club. This club is for those who have had their initial examination but aren’t ready for orthodontic treatment yet. If no treatment is needed these “mountain climbers” are scheduled every 6 months for another no cost examination so we can determine the most ideal time if and when there is a need for orthodontic treatment. For more information download our free guide at

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