When it comes to your kids, sometimes starting orthodontic treatment early is the best route to take. Not only can it make fixing issues easier for your child, it can also be less costly for you as a parent.
Are There Orthodontists Specifically for Children?
Yes! There is no difference in education or experience when it comes to children's orthodontists when compared to your family orthodontist. What does set the two apart, however, is often the atmosphere and decor of the office, as well as the personalities of the people who work there.
When visiting an orthodontics office designed with children in mind, you can often expect a welcoming environment with bright colors and themes that appeal to children. They may even offer video games in their waiting rooms to entertain kids as they await their appointment, or project movies on screens for them to watch during their treatment. Teen orthodontist offices often offer the same sort of environment and amenities. The orthodontist and staff at these particular offices have a passion for working with kids, and are well-versed in keeping them calm and relaxed during their visits.
When Should Your Child First Visit the Orthodontist?
When you imagine someone with braces, a teenager is probably the first things that comes to mind. But did you know it can actually be beneficial for your child to visit an orthodontist at a much younger age? This is because there are some orthodontic issues that will be easier (and sometimes more cost-efficient!) to fix before your child reaches their teenage years.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children be seen by an orthodontist by the age of seven. This might seem young, especially since it's unlikely your child will even have all of their adult teeth in by then. However, consulting with an orthodontist at such a young age helps your orthodontist determine if your child will need two-phase treatment, and to plan accordingly.
During the first phase of treatment, you can expect for alignment issues and jaw problems to be addressed. Being proactive and taking care of these issues while both the teeth and jaw are still developing can eliminate any future need for jaw surgery or permanent tooth extraction later in your child's life. This first phase can include expanders, partial braces, or other types of appliances that will adjust your child's mouth in preparation for their permanent teeth.
The second phase of treatment occurs after all permanent teeth have come in, and will likely include either braces or Invisalign.
At The Smile Store, we offer both phases of treatment. This can help make life easier for both of you as your child won't have to switch between a child orthodontist and a regular orthodontist between phases.
Choosing the Right Orthodontist for Your Child
When it comes to finding an orthodontist, take some time to research orthodontics offices to ensure your child will receive the best treatment and care. Here are a few things to consider during your search for the right orthodontist for your child:
- Where is the office? Your child will need periodic checkups during their treatment, so be sure to find a location that is not only easy to get to, but also operates during hours that fit your schedule.
- What qualifications does the orthodontist have? This is important. Not only should your orthodontist have a degree in dentistry and specialization in dentistry, he or she should have a large amount of real-life experience. Not only should your orthodontist be great with kids, they should also be well-versed in the latest orthodontic trends and continuously further education themselves in the field.
- How up-to-date is the office itself? Orthodontics is an ever-evolving field, so take the time to make sure your orthodontist is keeping up with the trends and offering the latest technology. For example, here at The Smile Store, we use digital scanning instead of taking messy impressions of teeth, making the process more comfortable and convenient.
- Does the orthodontist have ample experience working with children? As a parent, you know interacting with children is much different than interacting with adults. Make sure the orthodontist you choose not only has significant experience working with children, but also works with children well.
- Is your child comfortable with the orthodontist and staff? Even if the orthodontist works with children, that doesn’t mean your child will like him or her. The Smile Store's free initial exam is a perfect opportunity for your child to meet everyone in the office before you commit to a treatment plan.
- Is it affordable? Unfortunately, orthodontic treatment isn’t free, so cost is often a factor in which orthodontist people choose. Once you have found a well-qualified orthodontist that you and your child feel comfortable with, ask about the payment options they offer. Also take some time to find out whether your insurance plan might cover some of the costs.