Are There Children's Orthodontists?
As with child dentistry, or pediatric 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. A teen orthodontist office will likely offer the same environment. The orthodontist and staff will enjoy working with kids and know how to keep them calm and relaxed during their visits.
When Should a Child First See an Orthodontist?
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.
At Crescent Orthodontic Specialists, we offer two-phase treatment, so your child does not need to see a child orthodontist for the first phase and a regular orthodontist for the second phase.
Which Orthodontist Is Right for Your Child?
There are many things to consider when you are trying to find an orthodontist for your child:
- 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.
- 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, Crescent 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 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. Crescent 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 your child is comfortable with, find out what type of payment options 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. There is no such thing as "child braces" or "kid braces," so any orthodontist is equipped to provide treatment to patients of any age. 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.