Does My Child Need Orthodontics?

I get asked everyday in my North Vancouver dental practice, questions from parents about their children’s teeth position and bite. A common question is, “Does my child need orthodontics?” I decided to write this post about the most common questions parents ask me about Orthodontics for Children. I approached Dr. Jordan Millar, a North Shore Orthodontist, to answer my top 5 questions.  Here they are!

  1. When is the best time to visit an Orthodontist regarding my child’s teeth? Can I wait until all of my child’s baby teeth fall out?
    We recommend that all children get a check-up with an orthodontist around 7 years old, when the 6 year old molars have come into contact with each other. Most children will not require treatment at this time; however, the opportunity for periodic evaluation by the orthodontist during growth and development will allow the appropriate treatment to be initiated at the appropriate time.
  2. What are signs that my Child would benefit from Orthodontics?
    Orthodontists diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities (in other words, move teeth and align bones of the face). Some signs that may indicate that orthodontics would be beneficial include overbites, underbites, deepbites, openbites, crossbites, bite shifting on closure, crowding, spacing, finger/thumb habits, tongue thrusts, speech problems, missing teeth, extra teeth, abnormal eruption sequence, protrusive upper front teeth and psycho-social concerns due to teeth.
  3. Does my general dentist need to refer my child to see an Orthodontist?
    No, a referral is not required from the general dentist. The general dentist is the centre of the dental team and together with dental specialists, work towards a common goal of health, function and esthetics for our patients.
  4. Does a soother or thumbsucking habit affect my child’s teeth?
    Both of these repetitive habits can affect children’s’ teeth and oral cavities. If these habits are stopped before the adult teeth erupt, the affects are generally limited, but if they continue, tooth position, palate shape, tongue position, and speech can be affected.
  5. How long is an average orthodontic treatment for children?
    Treatment time is variable and dependent on severity, complexity, and cooperation. On average, early/interceptive treatment takes 6-12 months, while second phase or full treatment takes 12-36 months. In order to determine what is appropriate for your child, a complimentary assessment with Dr. Millar would be required.

Dr. Jordan Millar has recently opened her North Vancouver Orthodontic practice. Visit her website at or call 604-770-3414.  Both Dr. Jordan Millar and Dr. Melissa Skinner are originally from the North Shore, and happy to be serving the community. Both are accepting new patients.