Knowing When to See an Orthodontist About Treatment

If you’ve been considering a visit to your local orthodontist — either for yourself or for a loved one, such as your child — you may be wondering if such a visit is necessary. You don’t want to waste time and money if you don’t have to.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you have a question about the alignment of your teeth or anything having to do with your bite, it’s probably time to see an orthodontist. This may be obvious if you have trouble chewing or if your teeth are crowded, for example, but other less direct issues, such as mouth breathing or grinding your teeth, may indicate orthodontic issues as well.

At Millennium Park Orthodontics in Chicago, Howard Spector, DDS, and our team have seen every type of orthodontic issue imaginable. Here’s what we’ve learned about when to seek orthodontic treatment.


The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist by no later than age 7. At this age, a child usually still has a mix of baby teeth and permanent teeth. This means their teeth could be in a wide variety of developmental stages, requiring an expert to tell if a perceived problem is truly an issue.

The other reason to check in with an orthodontist at this age is to catch problems early, when they’re much easier to treat. A palate expander, for example, can treat a crossbite at an early age. If you wait until later, the problem may require oral surgery. 


You might still have the mindset that orthodontic treatment is for kids, but one in four orthodontic patients today is an adult. There’s no certain age by which an adult should see an orthodontist, but if you notice any of the following signs, you may want to consider a visit:

Orthodontic treatment works very well for adults. Adults are usually more compliant than kids in following their treatment plan, and they’re better positioned to take advantage of nontraditional treatment options, such as clear aligners, ceramic brackets, or lingual braces.

No matter your orthodontic problem, Dr. Spector and our team can help. Dr. Spector will give you a thorough evaluation and customize a treatment plan to fit your needs. To learn more, book an appointment over the phone with Millennium Park Orthodontics today.

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