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How do you know your child needs to visit an orthodontist, and when should you make an appointment? Our orthodontic team at Walt Orthodontics have highlighted some early warning signs parents should look out for, along with some answers to common concerns.

Orthodontic Issues

Many parents are unsure when their child needs to get an orthodontic check-up; after all, they may recall not seeing an orthodontist for assessment until they were close to their adolescent years themselves.

However, our knowledge of jaw growth and options for orthodontic treatment has vastly grown over recent years. It is now suggested by the CAO that children come in for an initial evaluation by the age of seven.

Around this time, enough permanent teeth have erupted for an orthodontist to identify whether any problems require intervention. Crowding, open bites, and deep bites can all be detected by the eruption of incisors. Examining the first molars allows an orthodontist to look for misalignment (malocclusion, or bad bite).

How do I know my child needs an orthodontic check-up?

You don’t always have to wait until your child is seven years old to see an orthodontist or come in for a check-up. If you observe any of these symptoms in your child, schedule an orthodontic consultation right away. We may be able to spot growing concerns and build a treatment plan tailored to your child’s needs using an early intervention approach.

  1.   Oral habits such as thumb sucking
  2. Mouth breathing
  3.   Early or late loss of their primary (baby) teeth
  4.   Speech issues
  5.   Misaligned upper and lower jaws
  6.   Teeth that protrude excessively
  7.   Missing, crowded, or obstructed teeth
  8.   Jaws that shift or make noises
  9.   Biting the roof of one’s mouth or the inside of one’s cheek

What exactly does an orthodontist do?

An orthodontist is a dentist who has received special training in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of dental and jaw abnormalities for an extra 2-3 years past dental school. They can improve present circumstances and detect potential problems. Children and adults are both eligible orthodontic patients.

The issues described above can be addressed with orthodontic treatment to enhance a patient’s bite and, as a result, their oral health.

With a healthy bite and aligned smile, your child can improve their ability to chew, eat, and speak appropriately.

Orthodontists utilize permanent and removable dental appliances to adjust the position of teeth in the mouth. These appliances can include bracesInvisalign clear aligners, and retainers. They address dental anomalies such as:

  •   Malocclusion of the jaw
  •   Teeth that are crowded, crooked, or incorrectly spaced
  •   Bite issues (example: overbite or underbite)

For children with airway or speech challenges, seeing an orthodontist for an initial examination can assist start them and their parents on the path to resolving questions or concerns they may not have been able to previously resolve.


What happens during my child’s initial orthodontic evaluation?

At Walt Orthodontics, we approach treatment in two stages, beginning with an early orthodontic assessment and intervention.

After determining whether or not your child has an orthodontic problem and the nature of the problem, we will offer a diagnosis and propose a custom orthodontic treatment. Options can include palatal expansion, LightForce Braces, or Invisalign to improve jaw position or tooth alignment.

Our orthodontists, Dr. Walt and Dr. Grossman are happy to answer any questions. They deal with many kids and are used to making them feel at ease. They can explain orthodontic terms in a simple way and make your child feel more comfortable with getting braces or any other orthodontic appliance.

We strongly believe that orthodontics goes beyond just straightening teeth. It can improve oral health and overall health too. The benefits are abundant!


Book Your Child’s Orthodontic Check-Up at Walt Orthodontics

Do you want to know if your child’s oral development is on the right track? Check-in with us for a free consultation with the Walt Orthodontics team! We are proud to create healthy and beautiful smiles in our Vaughan-Thornhill-Maple community!

In-Person Consultation

Use our handy online scheduler below to choose the date and time that works best for your initial complimentary consultation appointment!

Please note that while initial orthodontic consultations are complimentary, if you recently completed orthodontic treatment or currently are in active appliances with another provider, seeking a replacement/repair for a retainer, or looking to schedule a second consult after your initial one there is a fee for the consultation. Please contact us for more information.

Alternatively, please contact our office directly by phone/text if you are trying to book multiple consultations at the same time or are seeking consultation further out than 12 weeks.

Please note – If none of the available times on our online scheduler work for you we do have other consultation times available. Please contact us directly for more information.

Virtual Consultation

Skip the office visit and have your free consultation from the comfort of your home. The start to your beautiful smile is just a few photos and clicks away.

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When it comes to financing there’s no one size fits all solution. Likewise, there is no singular solution when it comes to financing. At LendCare, we get that and go deeper to understand your unique story and offer flexible options that work best for you, given your current financial situation. That means you get affordable financing, even if your credit is anything but top-tier.

Walt Orthodontics is pleased to offer interest-free payments up to 30 months. If you require payments over 30 months we are happy to offer the LendCare solution.


Dr. Walt received his dental (DDS) degree from the University of Western Ontario, graduating first in his class and receiving the Gold Medal as well as numerous awards recognizing his scholastic and clinical achievements, leadership and character. He then completed his orthodontic training at the University of Colorado, where he received both his Specialty Certificate and Master of Science Degree. During his residency, he was awarded the Rocky Mountain Orthodontics Scholarship for overall excellence.

After graduating from residency and opening Walt Orthodontics in 2013, Dr. Walt committed himself to applying his traditional orthodontic education into the digital world to improve clinical outcomes and patient experience. He currently serves as a Faculty Member, Key Opinion Leader, and Advisory Board Member for Align Technology which involves traveling around the world to teach other orthodontists about Invisalign. Being at the forefront of digital orthodontics, Dr. Walt was invited to be the first orthodontist in Canada to use custom LightForce braces. He also serves as an Orthodontic Coach/Mentor for other orthodontists looking to improve their knowledge of digital orthodontics.

In addition to practicing orthodontics, Dr. Walt is a “die-hard” Blue Jays fan and enjoys working out in his spare time.


Dr. Stephanie Grossman pursued her dental degree in sunny South Florida at Nova Southeastern University. She graduated with honours, at the top of her class, and was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi Honour Society. She then completed her orthodontic training at the University of Detroit Mercy, where she received both a Specialty Certificate in Orthodontics and a Master of Science degree. She is both a diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics and a Fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada.

Dr. Grossman strives to provide the highest standard of orthodontic care for her patients. She attends numerous hours of continuing education and utilizes the latest advancements in orthodontics. Dr. Grossman is licensed to practice in both the United States and Canada.

Outside of the clinic, Dr. Grossman enjoys spending time with her friends and family and traveling the world. She is a self-proclaimed foodie and loves trying new restaurants!