When your child smiles up at you, it’s one of the most fulfilling, heart-melting moments you can experience. Obviously, keeping them smiling is the top priority – but you still want to make sure their smile is well cared for. Although you might think you won’t have to take them to the dreaded ortho until their teen years, recently, both the Canadian and American Associations of Orthodontists have come to the consensus that kiddos should be seen no later than age seven. Don’t panic: visiting the orthodontist doesn’t mean your child will immediately be outfitted with braces. Typically, it’s just an observational period so the orthodontist can discover problems before they even begin to manifest! That way, if treatment is required it’ll be easier and faster.
We know you moms are super busy, so we put together a quick guide for picking out an orthodontist for your kids.
Make a list of options
Treat it like you’re a detective in CSI trying to narrow down a list of suspects – find the names of various potential candidates. Talk to people who’ve had experiences with orthodontists (like friends and family), and ask your child’s dentist who they usually refer their patients to. Don’t underestimate the power of Google!
Visit a few offices
Once you’ve compiled a list of candidates, go check out some offices! There’s a chance you’ll be spending a decent amount of time with your child’s orthodontist, so you want to feel comfortable and actually like them. Finding an orthodontist is kind of like dating: there’s always the chance you’ll just click with someone off the bat, but playing the orthodontic field will allow you to ensure you find someone who will meet your needs, and work within your budget.
You’re going to want to grill your candidates a bit. A trustworthy, experienced orthodontist should be happy to answer.
Ask them about their qualifications. Education, and experience all come in to play. Ask them about their specialized training post-dental school. Did they pass all their exams?
Some more general (but still important!) questions can include:
What kind of cases have they treated?
How long have they been practicing?
Will you be overseeing treatment, or will we be dealing mainly with your staff?
What different treatments do you offer?
What types of insurance does your office work with?
Is referral from a dentist required?
If your child requires treatment, here are some more questions for your repertoire:
When would it be best for my child to start treatment?
What are the specific orthodontic issues that need to be addressed with treatment?
What are the positives and negatives of the various treatment options, and which one do you recommend?
How frequent will appointments be?
What’s the estimated duration of the treatment?
How much will treatment cost, and how do you determine this cost? Are there additional fees?
What do we do if there is a braces emergency?
Do you offer follow-up care, such as retainers?
This is just a guide, as a lot of choosing an orthodontist for your child will come down to your cut feeling – we all know how accurate a mother’s intuition can be! If the orthodontist is qualified, you and your child like them, and they’re knowledgeable, kind, and willing to answer your questions, you’re on the right track!
Dr. Vishal Sharma at Aura Orthodontics