If you think you’re scared by a trip to the orthodontist, think what your kids must be going through. If you’ve been looking for a way to break the news to them, and calm your own nerves at the same time, then keep reading.
When You Should Go To The Orthodontist
Some parents bring their kids to the orthodontist when their GP or a pediatric dentist tells them that there’s a problem. But, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child should go to the orthodontist when they’re 7 for a consult.
This is because kids need orthodontic care for a variety of reasons, many of which aren’t immediately apparent. Thumb sucking, accidents, tooth decay, even genetic problems can cause malocclusions and other oral health issues.
Why Straight Teeth Matter
Having teeth straightened, and other oral problems fixed, is important because it can make dental hygiene easier on the child, makes maintenance easier, makes reduction of wear on tooth surfaces less of a problem, puts less stress on the supportive teeth and bones, as well as the gum tissues, and minimizes the risk of jaw problems that might lead to headaches or other problems.
What Should You Expect?
Normally, your orthodontist will schedule a 45-minute appointment. During this appointment, he will conduct an examination of the mouth with a small, mirrored, tool. He will also take X-rays of the teeth and possibly a mold as well.
After he or she looks over the results of the exam, the doctor will explain them to you and discuss treatment options. At this point, you’ll be given a fee schedule and recommendation for treatment.
You should ask a lot of questions. don’t be afraid to ask about financing options or make it clear that you can’t afford a particular treatment. The dentist should work with you.
Different Options You Might Be Given
On the higher-end of the price scale, your orthodontist might recommend Invisalign. This is an invisible brace that your child wears for straightening teeth. The benefit is that no one will really know that your child is wearing braces. The downside is that these can cost several thousand dollars.
And, they are also only designed for gently or mild malocclusions.
Metal or Ceramic Braces
A more mainstream option many dentists and orthodontists gravitate to is traditional metal or ceramic braces. Places like Rockefeller Center Orthodontics often recommend these as a more affordable treatment option.
Depending on how self-conscious your child is, these may be more appropriate. They are visible, so people will know your child is wearing braces.
One major advantage to these types of braces is that they are more adjustable, and they can correct more moderate to severe malocclusions. In some cases, it’s the only appropriate option because it’s the only one that will truly help your child.
When in doubt, get a second opinion. There’s no shame in asking around and seeing another doctor. Most doctors will be understanding, too. They want your child to have the best care possible.
Isobel O’Donnell is at dentistry school. A grade A student, she enjoys spending parts of her weekend writing, usually focusing on dentistry topics. Her articles have been published on health, parenting and lifestyle focused blogs.