One of the questions orthodontists are most frequently asked is, "When should my child first be examined for braces?" There is not one right answer to this question. The best starting time for orthodontic appliances depends on the type of problem and its severity. Many orthodontists recommend that every child have an orthodontic evaluation at the time their permanent teeth are starting to erupt.
The timing of orthodontics treatment is important. Early examination allows an orthodontist to identify problems and determine when to treat them, for the best results with the least time and expense. For many patients, early treatment achieves results that may be impossible to attain once the face and jaws have completed their growth. In addition, early intervention makes the completion of treatment at a later age easier.
If no treatment is indicated at the initial examination, your orthodontist may simply want to check your child periodically while the permanent teeth erupt and the face and jaws continue to grow. At the initial exam the following will be evaluated: your child's facial growth (amount and direction), excess spacing between teeth, crowding, crooked teeth, extra or missing teeth, and habits that may affect growth and dental development such as tongue thrusting and thumb-sucking. These problems affect not only tooth alignment but facial appearance.
Finally, the importance of an attractive smile should not be underestimated no matter what your age. A pleasing appearance is a vital asset to one's self-confidence. A person's self-esteem often improves as treatment brings teeth, lips, and face into harmony, in this way, teeth straightening can be beneficial to social and career success and improve one's general attitude toward life.