The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an initial consultation with an orthodontist when a child is age 7 or younger. By age 7, enough permanent teeth have come in and enough jaw growth has occurred that orthodontic problems can be identified. Early consultation allows the orthodontist to determine the optimum time for treatment to begin. Many parents and some family dentists assume visiting an orthodontist must be delayed until a child has all of his or her permanent teeth, only to find that treatment would have been much easier if started at an earlier date. Early treatment can eliminate the need for more drastic measures. Additionally, early intervention reduces the length of time children spend embarrassed about their teeth. Adults can be treated at any age as long as the gums and bone providing support for their teeth are healthy.
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