Top Questions To Ask Your Child’s Orthodontist At The First Visit
Many issues that cause a misalignment in teeth, a bad bite, or improper tooth spacing are easier to treat in children than in adults. This is due to the fact that children’s jawbones are still developing and will more easily allow the teeth and jaw to be shifted into the desired position.
If you are looking into orthodontic treatment for your child and are ready to make the first appointment, you may be wondering what information you need. Or you may be wondering what questions to ask.
To help you and your child feel more informed before orthodontic treatment is started, we’ve put together this convenient list of some of the top questions to ask your child’s orthodontist:
(We’ve provided general answers to the questions, but, of course, the specific answers will depend on your child’s unique situation.)
How do I know if my child really needs orthodontic treatment?
There are some visible signs that can indicate that your child’s smile would benefit from orthodontic treatment. One of the most common is the overcrowding of the teeth. This happens when the teeth appear to not have enough space in the mouth and start to slightly overlap each other as they grow in or grow in crooked. Another issue is an overbite or underbite, which is when the upper or lower teeth and jaw extend past the norm causing bite issues.
Your child’s orthodontist will evaluate their child’s teeth, jaws, and bite to determine exactly what issues may be present, the next steps that would be needed, and what the options in treatment are.
What are my child’s treatment options?
Don’t assume that braces are the only option, and communicate that point to your child as well. They may be resistant to orthodontic treatment because they assume they’ll be stuck with traditional metal braces.
So, make sure to ask questions about what treatment options are available to your child. With the advancements in orthodontic technology, your orthodontist specializes in much more than traditional metal braces. Other treatment options now include clear braces (like the Damon System), lingual braces that fit behind the teeth, or clear aligners (like Invisalign).
How long does the treatment take?
The first question you may get from your child is “how long do I have to do this?”. Orthodontic treatment is different for every child depending on the issues that need to be addressed to align the teeth and jaw properly. Active treatment, which is the time that the orthodontic appliances are worn, can range anywhere from 6 to 30 months. After that, a retainer will be worn to keep teeth in alignment.
How often do I need to bring my child in for an appointment?
The next logical question will be to find out how often your orthodontist will want to see your child during treatment. Having the answer to this question will not only help you plan for it but will also help your child understand the process. Again, the specific answer will depend on your child’s treatment plan, but patients can typically expect to come into the office once every 4 to 10 weeks.
Ensuring your child is following a good oral hygiene protocol during treatment will help ensure everything stays on track and additional appointments are avoided.
Will any teeth need to be extracted?
While this is not as common in children who are going to have orthodontic treatment, it is sometimes necessary. Two instances where it may be needed is in the case of severe overcrowding of the teeth (where there is not enough space in the mouth to accommodate all the teeth) or impacted teeth that are trapped beneath the gum line.
Will my child experience a lot of pain during treatment?
With the latest orthodontic technology, treatment is more comfortable than ever before. Keep in mind that with orthodontic treatment, the teeth are moving. So, your child will more than likely experience some minor aches and pains during the first couple of days of starting treatments and for a day or so after any adjustments. Over-the-counter pain relievers can provide relief but may not even be necessary.
Your orthodontist can explain in more detail what kinds of discomfort, if any, that your child will probably encounter during their specific treatment plan.
Will my child be under any limitations during orthodontic treatment?
Depending on the type of treatment or orthodontic appliance your child will be wearing, there may be some precautions to keep in mind. For example, wearing a mouthguard while playing sports will help protect your child’s teeth and prevent damage to orthodontic appliances. Also, your child may also need to be careful with what they eat and avoid food that can damage, stick to, or get stuck in dental appliances.
Some things to avoid include:
Will a retainer be needed after my child finishes treatment?
In most cases, yes, a retainer will need to be worn after active treatment is completed. The last thing you want is the teeth to shift back out of place after all of that effort was put into your child’s treatment. Because our teeth shift as we age, this can happen very quickly if a retainer is not worn. A retainer will help your child maintain their newly-aligned smile for a lifetime.
How much will my child’s orthodontic treatment cost?
Of course, this is a very important question that you’ll want to know the answer to. There are different costs associated with different treatments and orthodontic appliances. But overall, keep in mind that orthodontic care is a long-term investment in your child’s confidence, health, well-being. Living with problem teeth can end up being much more expensive in the long run compared to having your child’s orthodontic treatment done now.
Don’t be afraid to ask detailed questions about the costs associated with your child’s individual treatment plan, how it will be broken down, when fees need to be paid, etc.
At our office, we strive to make orthodontic treatment affordable. We accept many of the common dental insurance plans. We also accept a variety of payment options and third-party financing options are available as well.
You, Your Child, & Your Orthodontist Are A Team
Here at Cook & Gutsche Orthodontics, our goal is to help your child achieve a confident and beautiful smile and provide excellent patient satisfaction. To do that, we analyze the specific needs and issues of your child and develop a customized treatment plan. We encourage you to ask questions, like the ones covered above, so that you, your child, and your orthodontist all remain on the same page, working together toward the same goal.
We will keep the lines of communication open with you about what the plan is, what alternative treatments there may be, and any symptoms present along the way that may require further treatment. Our expert team here at Cook & Gutsche Orthodontics strives to be your trusted orthodontics partner.
Do you have more questions about your child’s orthodontic options? Want to schedule an initial consultation? Contact us today! We’re here to help.