Did you know that the ideal age to visit an orthodontist is around the age of seven?

While that might seem young, it’s the right age for several reasons. First, Dr. Woods will be able to see how the baby teeth are falling out and how the permanent teeth are erupting. He can see how the jaw and facial structures and developing, and identify any issues that may cause problems as the child grows. It also allows Dr. Woods to intervene to correct bad habits, such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusting.

While your child can benefit greatly from visiting Salem Smiles at the age of seven, this doesn’t mean the treatment will begin at seven. It does, however, allow us to monitor your child so that if treatment is needed, it can begin at the time it will have the most impact.

Some children may benefit from early treatment. If indicated, early treatment can be very beneficial by: 

  • Guiding the growth of your child’s jaw to ensure all permanent teeth can adequately fit
  • Correcting the width of the upper and lower arches to accommodate all teeth
  • Creating the right space for erupting permanent teeth
  • Lowering the need for extractions
  • Correcting bad habits
  • Improving speech issues and chewing and biting issues


The best way to determine if your child is a candidate for orthodontic treatment is through a consultation with Dr. Woods.

However, as a parent, there are some things you can look for that may indicate your child needs orthodontic treatment:

  • Did your child lose baby teeth too early or too late or in an irregular pattern?
  • Does your child have difficulty chewing or biting their food?
  • Does your child breathe exclusively through their nose?
  • Does your child suck their thumb or fingers?
  • Does your child have crowded or misplaced teeth?
  • Does your child’s jaw pop, click, or make noise?
  • Does your child have teeth that don’t fit together?
  • Does your child have a jaw that looks disproportionate to the rest of their face?

If you answered yes to any of the above, your child may be a candidate for orthodontic treatment.

Braces treatment for children

Traditional braces are the most efficient and effective treatment available and are an excellent option for our youngest patients. Because the brackets are bonded to the teeth, they don’t require your child to remember to wear the braces. The braces are always in place, working to move your child’s teeth to their desired locations.


Braces will have no doubt have a positive impact on your child’s life, but they can seem a bit daunting at first. It will take a bite to get used to life with braces.

Dr. Woods offers the following tips:

  • There may be some discomfort in the day or so after braces are placed. Your child can take over-the-counter pain medication to assist with this discomfort. Cold compresses and warm salt water rinses can also provide relief. Stick to soft foods for the first several days as your mouth is adjusting.
  • The inside of the cheeks and lips may get irritated in the first few days from the brackets and wires. Orthodontic wax can help. Simply place a small amount over the offending area.
  • Learn what foods your child can and can’t eat. With bracket and wire braces, it’s important to avoid foods that are too hard, crunchy, chewy, or sticky so that the brackets and wires aren’t damaged.
  • Create a braces care plan that includes caring for your child’s smile while on the go. Create a travel kit that includes a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and orthodontic wax for your child to have with them at school and in extracurricular activities. Brushing and flossing properly is crucial while in orthodontic treatment.

Your child’s time in braces will fly by, and before either of you know it, they’ll be enjoying their new smile and properly functioning bite.