Take kids to the dentist every six months for checkups. That’s common guidance for parents to maintain good dental health. But orthodontists want to see kids, too, and earlier than most parents might expect.

FOX’s Lisa Brady reports in this week’s ‘FOX on Family’:

I had braces as a teenager, never saw an orthodontist until about age 12, so I was shocked to hear it recommended by age seven:

(Doctor Miller) “At that point we can actually have the back molars in and we can use those to evaluate how the bite is fitting and whether or not it will lend itself to treatment at an earlier stage rather than when all the permanent teeth come in.”

Doctor Jacqueline Miller with the American Association of Orthodontists says intercepting problems earlier, during development, can lead to better treatment, like guiding a child’s jaw to grow properly, or avoiding overcrowding.

Orthodontists use a different X-ray:

(Doctor Miller) “It’s called a Panorex and it kind of gives us a view of all the teeth at one time and we’re able to see any developing problems that might be coming on that we can address at a younger age.”

Some dentists still say wait until all permanent teeth are in and some early treatments may have to be revisited, but Miller urges parents to take advantage of a low-or-no cost initial screening, instead of rolling the dice.

With FOX on Family, I’m Lisa Brady.

Dr. Miller is a practicing orthodontist in Missouri. She says parents can find much more information from the American Association of Orthodontists on their website, www.aaoinfo.org.