How Do I Choose an Orthodontist for My Child?
Are there Children Orthodontists?
As with child dentistry, a child orthodontist has the same education as a family orthodontist. What often makes them different is the décor in their office and the personalities of the people who work there. Child orthodontics offices are often brightly colored or have a theme that appeals to children. They may have video games to entertain the kids who are waiting and movies they can watch on a screen during treatments. The orthodontist and staff will enjoy working with kids and know how to keep them calm and relaxed during their visits.
What Do Child Orthodontists Do?
When you think about someone with braces, a teenager probably comes to mind. But it is actually better if your child sees an orthodontist at a much younger age, because some orthodontic issues are easier to fix before your child reaches their teen years.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child be seen by an orthodontist by age seven. While your child will not have all of their adult teeth by then, consulting with an orthodontist at such a young age will allow them to determine if your child needs two-phase treatment.
The first phase of treatment addresses alignment issues and jaw problems while your child’s jaw is still growing. Taking care of these issues while the teeth and jaw are developing can eliminate the need for jaw surgery or the removal of permanent teeth when your child is older or an adult. This phase can include expanders and other appliances that will adjust your child’s mouth to accommodate their permanent teeth.
The second phase of treatment will most likely be braces or Invisalign and will take place after their permanent teeth have come in.
Which Orthodontist Is Right for Your Child?
There are many things to consider when choosing a child orthodontist:
- Is the office convenient? Because your child will need periodic checkups during their treatment, their orthodontist should be easy to get to and have office hours that work with your schedule. Charleston Orthodontic Specialists currently has offices in Summerville, West Ashley, James Island and Mt. Pleasant, which are open six days a week.
- Is the orthodontist qualified? To become an orthodontist, a person first completes a degree in dentistry, then takes additional classes specifically in orthodontics. In addition to this extra training, your orthodontist should also have real-life experience working with patients and be keeping up with the latest trends and technology through continuing education.
- Is the office up-to-date? Orthodontics has changed drastically over the last couple of decades, so be sure your orthodontist offers the latest technology. For example, Charleston Orthodontic Specialists uses digital scanning instead of taking messy impressions of your teeth, making this part of the process more comfortable and convenient.
- Does the orthodontist have experience working with children? As a parent, you know that interacting with children is much different than interacting with adults, so make sure the orthodontist you choose has worked successfully with children.
- 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. Charleston Orthodontic Specialists offers a free initial exam, which is the perfect time for your child to meet everyone before you commit to a treatment plan.
- Do they offer affordable payment options? Unfortunately, orthodontic treatment isn’t free, so cost is often a factor. Once you have found a qualified orthodontist that your child is comfortable with, find out what type of payment options and discounts they offer and whether or not your insurance may cover some of the cost.
Child Orthodontics vs. Family Orthodontics
Does your child need to see a child orthodontist? Not really. As mentioned above, it’s beneficial for your child to go to someone who has experience working with kids, but many family orthodontists work equally well with patients of all ages. If you have a child who needs braces and you want your own spectacular smile, it’s much more convenient for both of you to go to the same office. The same is true of family dentistry, there are fewer trips to different offices and simplified record-keeping if everyone goes to the same dentist.
At Charleston Orthodontic Specialists, we offer multiple family member discounts, regardless of the patients’ ages, making braces and Invisalign more affordable for families.