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My daughter needs to get her crowded teeth straightened out. What would be the best age to have her start out on her smile correction journey?

This is a question that is a bit difficult to answer without a checkup because there are just too many variables. Regardless I will try to issue some general guidelines that might help you to make your decision.

Crowded teeth or any teeth alignment issue can be due to multiple causes: a discrepancy between jaw size and tooth size - for example, large teeth on small jaws will cause crowding (and small teeth on large jaws will cause spacing). Sometimes it could be because of the milk teeth not falling off and sometimes it could be due to having extra teeth. Narrow palates are also a cause of crowding on the upper teeth. Certain habits such as mouth breathing and finger or thumb sucking can also make crowding worse and cause flaring of the teeth.

The timing of the treatment depends on the cause of the crowding in the first place and your daughter’s age. Certain conditions that should be treated as early as possible include milk teeth which don’t fall out in time, narrow palates, a crossbite– used to describe the overlap of the lower teeth by the upper– and mouth breathing and thumb sucking because they can adversely affect the growth and development of the jaws.

If none of these conditions are present, it might be advisable to wait until all the permanent teeth have erupted around the age of 13 years.

Once again, it would be advisable to check with your dentist or orthodontist the existing dental situation and take professional advice from them as it pertains specifically to your daughter’s case and use all the information above as general advice.