Although a smile may be enhanced at an age, there is an ideal time period to begin treatment that assures the best result with the least amount of time and expense. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that an initial orthodontic evaluation take place as soon as problems are apparent or no later than age seven. While orthodontic care may not be indicated at this early age, often the most advantageous time to begin treatment may be anticipated.
An early evaluation allows awareness of potential problems and an opportunity for effective treatment. Intervention may guide dental and facial development which can prevent more serious concerns later in life. If early treatment is not necessary, growth and development will be monitored while orthodontic care can be started at the right time.
When a child is about seven years of age, first permanent molars have erupted and posterior bite relationships have been established. Permanent upper and lower incisors are also erupting and and their positions may be evaluated in both antero-posterior and vertical dimensions. Dental arch length problems are also apparent and the potential effects of crowding upon the normal eruption of remaining permanent teeth may be assessed.