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We’ve talked about when you should take your kid to the dentist (and how often). And we’ve talked about when your kid should start brushing and flossing. Let’s talk about when your kid should have their first orthodontist appointment.

There’s not a magic, fail-proof age, because all kids (and their mouths) develop at different rates. The basic rule of thumb that most authorities on the subject, like the American Association of Orthodontists and the Mayo Clinic, recommend is age 7. Although your kid still has mostly baby teeth at 7, the tooth and jaw structure is developed enough for an orthodontist to detect alignment challenges that will emerge over time and to create a plan for addressing those issues. In some cases, early intervention could save you time and expense down the road. In other cases, it’s a matter of waiting until the permanent teeth come in.

If you’re consistently taking your child to the dentist, though, your dentist will be able to give you specific recommendations for your kid. As your dentist monitors your child’s oral growth and development, he will make recommendations for setting up an orthodontic appointment when that becomes beneficial!