Generally, an orthodontist should be seen any time there is a question about the alignment of the teeth or bite. Sometimes, this may be quite obvious if significant crowding or rotated teeth are noticed. Other times, it may not be as obvious.
Even less obvious problems can have significant consequences if they are not addressed, which is why your dentist may have referred you to us. Most specialists recommend an evaluation by age 10. This recommendation is based on the fact that by this age, the permanent first molars and some of the permanent front teeth should be present in the mouth. If this is not the case, there may be a problem in normal tooth development or eruption.
There is a large variation in normal tooth development for different individuals. Therefore, an evaluation by an orthodontist is important to determine whether there is a problem or if it is just a normal variation in tooth development/eruption. If an orthodontist has not been consulted by age 10, an examination will still be valuable to determine what, if anything needs to be done. Although most patients will not need treatment at a very young age, catching problems early if they exist can potentially prevent more severe future problems.
Children under the age of 18, once referred, will not be charged for an initial examination appointment, so it can be a valuable way to gain information about the bite and development of the teeth and jaws. A referral is not needed for adults to make an appointment.
If there are questions about the alignment of the teeth or bite, do not hesitate to ask the dentist or make an appointment to see an orthodontist.