When Should a Child First See an Orthodontist?

Providing your child orthodontic care at the right age can help put them on the path to a healthy smile that will last a lifetime. But when is the right time? According to the American Association of Orthodontics, children should see an orthodontist by the time they are seven years old. 

At DiCiccio Freeman Orthodontics, we have the experience needed to ensure your child avoids issues with their adult teeth in the future. Keep reading to discover the benefits of early orthodontic care and what to expect during your child’s first visit.

Benefits of Early Orthodontic Visits

Almost every day we hear from concerned patients asking us when their child should see an orthodontist. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, a child's first check-up with an orthodontist should be done no later than age seven. By this age, most children have enough permanent teeth to assess their bite and growing jaws.

Orthodontists receive special training to identify subtle problems with emerging teeth and jaw growth, even if the child’s teeth seem straight. If Dr. DiCiccio or Dr. Freeman observe a developing problem, they may determine it best to monitor the child’s progress and administer treatment later. If the issue is more serious, they may proceed with early treatment. 

Corrective treatment at this age provides many benefits, such as: 

  • Making it easier for your child to brush and floss properly
  • Guiding jaw and permanent teeth development
  • Helping your child address concerns about their smile’s appearance
  • Preventing the formation of more serious conditions
  • Allowing future treatment to be shorter and less complex
  • Correcting damaging oral habits, such as thumb sucking
  • Building a trusting relationship with dental and orthodontic professionals


Signs a Child May Need an Orthodontic Exam

Our experience tells us that some behaviors may indicate when to take a child to the orthodontist. If your child has a pediatric dentist, they may provide a referral. 

Conditions you may need to watch for include:

  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Loss of baby teeth later or earlier than expected
  • Thumb sucking
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Crooked, crowded, or gapped teeth
  • Facial asymmetry
  • Grinding or clenching teeth
  • Biting inside of their cheeks
  • Misaligned jaw

Dr. DiCiccio and Dr. Freeman have provided the top orthodontic care in Fresno and Clovis for over 25 years. Learn more about their practice, specialty training, and personal backgrounds!

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What to Expect During Your Child’s s First Orthodontist Exam 

Our top priority at DiCiccio Freeman Orthodontics is to help build a foundation of oral health for your child. We take every step to make them comfortable, so they will love their visit. 

During the first exam, we will use an X-ray and digital scans to get a complete picture of your child’s smile. We will also conduct a visual examination. Dr. DiCiccio and Dr. Freeman will assess the following:

  • Tooth loss and eruption
  • Tooth spacing
  • Misalignment
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Crossbite
  • Open bite
Girl at the dentist holding and x-ray and looking at the camera smiling

What If a Child Does Not Need Orthodontic Treatment

Many children will not need any treatment. Issues our orthodontists find may correct themselves as your child develops. If there are no problems, we recommend scheduling a follow-up visit in one or two years. During the follow-up, Dr. DiCiccio and Dr. Freeman will conduct another exam to see how your child is developing.  

When Should My Child See an Orthodontist?

The best way to give your child a bright, healthy smile is to visit an orthodontist by their seventh birthday. DiCiccio Freeman Orthodontics has treated patients of all ages in Fresno and Clovis for over 25 years. 

Schedule your complimentary exam to learn how we can set up your child for a lifetime of health and confidence.