The selection of an orthodontist
The selection of an orthodontist is an important decision… a real lifetime investment in your child’s health and well being. Here are some crucial questions that should be addressed prior to choosing a doctor with the responsibility of transforming your child’s smile, transforming your child’s life.
How many years of experience does the doctor have? While the institution from which an orthodontist received a degree certainly impacts his/her knowledge base and skills, it is years of experience through hands-on patient care that refines one’s skills. Technical expertise results from well-founded experience, a passion for learning, and a commitment to providing the most excellent of treatment and care to patients. Is the orthodontist Board Certified? Board certification is an elective process which includes an examination designed to assess the knowledge, skills and clinical expertise required to provide the highest quality patient care. This process typically takes 5-10 years. Completion of this process is an indication of an orthodontist’s commitment to offering the most excellent treatment. Will the doctor see the patient every visit? And, does the doctor personally position and bond each bracket? Patients should be seen by the doctor at every visit since she/he is the specialist, not the assistant. Of course, this will result in higher treatment plan fees, but the orthodontist will be fully engaged in treating the patient. What technology does the orthodontist utilize in treatment? Not all orthodontist are the same. The technology employed in treatment varies depending on the orthodontic office and its commitment to providing premium care and to utilizing only the most advanced technology available. A practice should adhere to the highest level of quality control. Furthermore, the appliances and brackets used in your child’s treatment are simply tools; they are only as good as the doctor using them. What factors led to my child’s need for orthodontic treatment? Sucking, mouth breathing, clenching/grinding, and abnormal tongue function are the contributing factors to the need for orthodontic treatment. How will the doctor help address the root cause(s) of why my child needs orthodontic treatment? The doctor must diagnose the root cause(s) associated with why orthodontic treatment is necessary so as to help avoid prolonging treatment time and relapse. Once diagnosed, the doctor will refer the patient to the necessary adjunct therapist such as an Orofacial Myologist for tongue function abnormalities, an ENT for mouth breathing or blocked nasal passages, and a Periodontist for frenectomies. Why is palatal expansion necessary for my child?When one of the contributing factors is present during crucial stages of development, necessary growth does not occur. The child’s habits and/or immature tongue patterns stunt the palatal expansion that should happen naturally. Therefore, simulation of dental arch growth is necessary. Why is early intervention important for my child’s overall oral health? When the human body is out of balance, addressing the problem(s)earlier results in the ability to guide or simulate proper growth and function. Furthermore, the younger the bones, the more responsive the skeletal structures are, and the more permanent the changes. Does delaying treatment negatively impact the process?The longer the disharmony or imbalance remains, the more engrained it becomes in the skeletal, neurological, and muscular patterns of the human body. Therefore, the earlier your child is treated, the easier it is for harmonious growth and development. Delaying treatment can often cause compromises in the end result, possible permanent tooth lose or damage, the need for extractions, and potentially facial orthognathic surgery. Is it possible to avoid extractions? Narrow dental arches, severe crowding and extreme protrusion may result in the need for teeth extractions. However, early diagnosis coupled with the proper technique can potentially avoid this necessity.