Problems to Watch for in Seven Year Olds

Malocclusions like these may benefit from early diagnosis and referral to an orthodontic specialist for a full evaluation.
orthodontics anterior crossbite
Anterior Crossbite


orthodontics crossbite of back teeth
Posterior Crossbite


orthodontics crowding of teeth


orthodontics open bite
Open Bite

An open bite is usually due to an oral habit.

orthodontics protutrusion of front teeth


orthodontics ectopically erupting maxillary molar
Ectopic Eruption

Ectopically erupting maxillary molar.

orthodontics underbite of front teeth
Complete Class III


orthodontics deep bite of front teeth


orthodontics deep bite of front teeth
Oral Habits


Healthcare professionals who see children, including dentists, dental hygienists, pediatricians, family physicians, school nurses, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, may be the first to recognize that a child may have an orthodontic problem. If your sense is that something seems amiss with teeth or jaws, refer to the patient to an AAO orthodontist. Many AAO orthodontists offer complimentary or low-cost initial consultations.

The orthodontist’s goal is to provide each patient with the most appropriate treatment at the most time. By working together, the healthcare team can deliver results for patients that may not be achievable independently.

To be able to provide patients with appropriately-timed care, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have a check-up with an orthodontic specialist at the first recognition of an orthodontic problem, but no later than age 7, for several reasons:

  • The posterior occlusion is established when the first molars erupt. At that time, one can evaluate the antero-posterior and transverse relationships of the occlusion, as well as discover any functional shifts or crossbites.
  • Incisors have begun to erupt and problems can be detected such as crowding, habits, deep bites, open bites and some jaw discrepancies.
  • For some, a timely evaluation will let to significant treatment benefits; for others, the principal immediate benefit is a parent’s peace of mind.

The AAO does not advocate for comprehensive orthodontic treatment for all patients at age 7. However, interceptive treatment may be appropriate for the kinds of malocclusions pictured above.

Final treatment decisions should be made among the parent, child’s dentist and orthodontist.

Discuss your questions about recognizing youngsters’ malocclusions with nearby AAO orthodontists.

Download and print the easy reference guide Problems to Watch for in Seven Year Olds.

Share the companion guide, Problems to Watch for in Growing Children, with patients’ parents.