Even though the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child’s first orthodontic exam should take place at age 7, a very critical time for a more detailed look is at age 9. We all know what crooked teeth look like after they have come into the mouth, but before they erupt, when they are working their way into the mouth, big trouble can be present.
Very often, unerupted permanent teeth want to come in the mouth in surprisingly odd positions. Of particular concern are the canine teeth in the top jaw, often called eye teeth. They are notorious for not only erupting in odd positions, but for the damage they can do. If left unattended, they can literally wipe out the roots of other permanent teeth or possibly erupt in such a bad way that permanent gum tissue damage occurrs.
For the 9 year old child, an orthodontist can take a panorex xray to evaluate the eruption paths of all of the developing permanent teeth and to critically look at the upper eye teeth. Are they erupting in the right direction and is there the proper amount of space for them to come in? If things don’t look good, early orthodontic treatment may be necessary to keep them out of trouble.