At What Age Should You Start Orthodontics? by Torrance, CA Orthodontist Dr. Louis F. Mascola.

Video Transcript

At What Age Should You Start Orthodontics?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends the child to come in at the age of seven. Sometimes, you have to come in earlier if your pediatrician recognizes there’s going to be a problem. Sometimes, we even look at children four years of age to anticipate a problem and see if we can rectify it before they get too old. And you want to be able to grab a child in their formative years where they’re developing. Because, in fact, we can do a lot. We can actually change the movement of the bone. And that’s what an orthodontist is capable of doing.

When I first started out, it was mostly individuals between the ages of 11 to 15. That has changed. So now, we’re seeing adults all the way. I’ve had some patients in their 90s. And then, now, with Invisalign, they’re starting to do teens. Before, we used to do what we call first phase with brackets. And we still do that and start with kids that are about seven years of age. The American Association of Orthodontists, which I am a member, would like to have all children at the age of 7 exam for orthodontic problems. And if you catch it early enough, since we know what the growth is going to be for the skull and for the jaws.

We can prospectively eliminate most extractions for permanent teeth if you look at it from an early age. If you wait too long, then sometimes you’ll see some extractions. And usually, the extraction percentage is probably around 30% to 35% when I first got out of school. Now, it’s down to about 15% because a lot of parents a little bit more educated now where they either had orthodontics or they’ve been reading about it.