Tips to Find the Best Orthodontist for Your Children
Finding the best orthodontist for your children is key to setting them on the road to life-long healthy teeth and smiles. A top orthodontic specialist can also spare kids the self-conscious awkwardness caused by the embarrassment of having crooked teeth.
Early intervention if your child is showing symptoms of an orthodontic problem can avoid more serious, long-term issues, or ensure that future treatment is less complicated. Orthodontic treatment for children can also achieve a positive outcome that may be out of the question once their jaws have finished growing.
Many children are apprehensive about the prospect of orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists experienced in treating kids are adept at allaying the anxieties of their young patients and putting them at ease.
Orthodontic issues in young children can be caused by several factors, including genetics, habits such as thumb sucking, and early or late loss of baby teeth.
Malocclusion (crowded or crooked teeth) can result in a build-up of germ-laden plaque and tartar because brushing and flossing is more difficult. These bacteria are a common cause of tooth decay and gum disease.
Orthodontics is the dentistry specialty aimed at preventing and treating problems like these. But how do you go about finding the best orthodontist for your children? Here are a few ideas for you to consider.
Look for a Dentist Officially Recognized as an Orthodontist
General dentists may offer orthodontic treatments as part of their services. However, only dentists who’ve completed an accredited orthodontic residency program of two or more years after dental school are accepted as members of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO).
Look for an Orthodontist with Experience of Treating Children
While the clinical skills gained through extra training are essential for an orthodontist, caring for young patients requires a particularly empathetic approach. In more complex cases, an orthodontist’s extra training and greater experience make them far better equipped to handle unexpected problems that may arise during a child’s treatment.
Check Out Reviews
Once you’ve verified the orthodontist’s credentials and experience of caring for kids, check out reviews on their website to see exactly what parents of their young patients think about the orthodontist.
Get a Feel for How the Practice Works
Checking out patients’ reviews is all very well, but a personal consultation at the orthodontic office is the best way to really get a feel of whether the practice is a good fit with the needs of your children. An initial consultation is generally free, and it gives you the chance to gauge whether your kids will feel comfortable with the facilities, the orthodontist and the staff.
Questions to Ask a Children’s Orthodontist
This initial visit to the orthodontist will also give you the opportunity to ask questions such as:
- Can you accept appointments that fit around school schedules?
- What’s the scope of the treatment you can offer?
- How much does treatment cost?
- Can I see photos of some of your young patients, taken before and after treatment?
- What different types of braces are available to move my child’s teeth?
- How long will the treatment last?
- Will the treatment cause discomfort, and, if so, how can this be managed?
- What are the parental and patient’s responsibilities during and after treatment?
- What payment options do you offer?
Another less obvious question you might consider asking an orthodontist is whether they get involved in their local community, particularly with school events. If an orthodontic practice becomes part of the community it serves, you can be sure this commitment will be reflected in a caring and compassionate attitude towards your children in the dental office.
There may also come a time when a child requires advanced orthodontic treatment, so it’s advisable to find an orthodontist who can handle complex cases should the need arise.
Is Invisalign for Teens Available?
If you’re a parent of a teen with orthodontic problems, it’s worth finding an orthodontist who’s an accredited Invisalign Teen treatment provider. The Invisalign system is favored by many teenagers over traditional braces because Invisalign appliances resemble clear plastic and are practically invisible, with smooth edges that make them more comfortable.
Teens also like Invisalign because these removable aligners make it easier for them to get on with their everyday life, compared with traditional non-removable braces. As opposed to the brackets and wires of traditional metal braces, the Invisalign system provides youngsters with full access to brush and floss their teeth, which greatly lessens the risk of tooth decay and gum infections such as gingivitis.
Another advantage of Invisalign aligners is that teens are able to eat and drink whatever they want, and they can remove them to take part in sports and similar activities.
The American Association of Orthodontists says more than half of the two million people who start orthodontic treatment in the U.S. each year are youngsters aged 12 to 17.
A survey in 2014 found that 96 percent of teens in the U.S. were unhappy with their smile and insecure about their overall appearance. Thirty percent were most self-conscious about their teeth. Nearly half of Invisalign Teen users surveyed reported a boost in self-confidence during the treatment, compared with just 22 percent of those wearing metal braces.
Safeguarding Your Children’s Smiles
It’s important to take time and care in choosing an orthodontist that both you and your children are comfortable with. Your orthodontist and their staff should feel like a part of your family as partners with you in looking after the dental well being of your youngsters.
A skilled orthodontist won’t just look at your children’s teeth; they will consider the whole picture, examining the entire structure of facial bones and muscles to identify the most appropriate treatment.
The best orthodontist for your children will also be able to advise you on oral health care at home, to make sure your youngsters’ teeth remain straight and healthy – and that they keep their nice smiles!