Over 75% of people base first impressions on one’s smile. However, most people are unhappy with their smiles. Having your child visit a pediatric orthodontist can help straighten their teeth, ensuring they always make a good first impression.
Not sure if your child is ready for orthodontic treatment? Here are seven questions to ask your potential pediatric orthodontist before their appointment.
Asking these questions will help you find a qualified orthodontist and help you prepare for your child’s treatment. Read on to learn more.
1. At What Age Should My Child See an Orthodontist?
The American Academy of Orthodontics recommends your child visit an orthodontist no later than age 7. Early treatment can improve the outcome of their orthodontic treatment. Even if your child doesn’t have visible issues, they can benefit from a check-in.
However, the “best age” for receiving orthodontic treatment can vary between patients. For children, treatment with braces usually begins between the ages of 9 and 14. It’s ideal that your child has all of their permanent teeth first.
Ask your child’s pediatric dentist if they might benefit from orthodontic treatment. Your pediatric dentist can refer you to a local orthodontist. They can also identify problematic oral patterns as they begin to form.
However, signs of potential problems don’t always indicate treatment needs to happen right away.
Treatment with traditional metal braces isn’t always possible for every child. Inconvenience, lack of diagnosis, or expense could cause you to delay your child’s treatment. Don’t worry; they’re never too old for braces.
However, your child’s jaw will continue to grow as they age. This could cause increased crowding or narrowing of their teeth. Delaying a check-up could make orthodontic treatment more difficult in the future.
Instead, schedule a consultation appointment with your local orthodontist. They can assess your child’s teeth to determine if they need orthodontic dental care right away.
2. How Will I Know They Need Treatment?
Take a look at your child’s teeth. You might notice they have an over- or underbite, meaning their upper or lower teeth extend beyond the norm. An over- or underbite can make it difficult for your child to chew or talk.
For example, they could form a lisp.
Overcrowding of teeth is another problem that indicates it’s time for orthodontic treatment. Overcrowding occurs when there isn’t enough space in your child’s mouth for their teeth.
Other signs they need orthodontic treatment include:
- Thumb-sucking past age 2
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Breathing through the mouth
- Jaw clicking sounds
- Teeth that are crowded or crooked
- Teeth that don’t come together when the mouth is shut
- A tendency to bite the tongue, inside of the cheek, or roof of the mouth
If your child’s teeth look visibly crooked or crowded, they might have difficulty brushing and flossing their teeth. Neglecting to thoroughly brush and floss can increase their risk of plaque development. Plaque can increase their risk of tooth decay or gum disease.
Instead of putting their oral health at risk, consider scheduling a consultation appointment. An experienced orthodontist can determine if your child needs to begin treatment.
3. What Are Your Credentials?
Before choosing a local pediatric orthodontist, take the time to review their credentials.
First, determine where they completed their education and training. Confirm they graduated from an accredited institution. Note when they graduated as well.
A pediatric orthodontist who graduated decades ago likely has years of hands-on experience. They can leverage that experience to ensure your child receives the best standard of care. However, it’s important to make sure these orthodontists continued their training over time.
Teams that prioritize continuing their education remain informed about new techniques, procedures, and technologies. Using the latest technology can benefit your child’s treatment.
Consider how long the orthodontist has specialized in treating children. Their experience with children can help put your child at ease. An orthodontist who specializes in treating adults, however, might not know how to speak with or act around your child.
They could make your child’s dental anxiety worse, impacting their ability to receive treatment.
Finding a pediatric orthodontist with years of hands-on experience will give you peace of mind.
4. What Orthodontic Options Do You Offer?
Ask each orthodontist about the different treatment options they offer, too.
When most people think of orthodontic care, they imagine traditional metal braces. These braces fit over your child’s teeth using metal brackets and wires. However, they’re no longer the only treatment option available.
For older children, an orthodontist might recommend Invisalign treatment. Your child can remove their clear, plastic aligners to eat, brush, and floss. The aligners fit around their teeth to bring them into alignment.
You might want to consider other services, like sedation dentistry, to ensure your child receives the care they need.
5. Can I See Before and After Photos?
Ask each orthodontist if they can offer before and after photos of the treatment you’re considering for your child. Reviewing before and after photos can help you determine if the treatment meets your expectations.
You can also ask the orthodontist if they can provide testimonials from other parents.
6. How Long Will Treatment Take?
Determine how long each treatment option will take. The duration of each treatment can vary based on how extensive your child’s orthodontic problems appear. The orthodontist can give you a more realistic treatment timeline based on your child’s needs.
For simple corrections, treatment usually takes between 12 to 18 months. For more complex cases, treatment can take about 36 months.
7. How Much Will It Cost?
Ask more than one local orthodontist for an itemized list of the services they offer. Compare costs to determine the average in your area. Determine if any of them accept your insurance, too.
Don’t choose a pediatric orthodontist based on price alone. Instead, review your notes to choose the best orthodontist based on your child’s needs.
Talk to Your Local Pediatric Orthodontist Today
Finding an experienced pediatric orthodontist can benefit your child’s oral health for years to come. Straight teeth can boost their confidence, self-esteem, and ability to make a strong first impression. Make sure to ask these questions before choosing a local orthodontist for your child.
Want to streamline your search and begin your child’s orthodontic treatment? We’re happy to help.
Contact us today to get started.