You may be surprised to learn that orthodontic treatment is often recommended in children as young as 6 or 7. Even though children at this age still have baby teeth, there are usually enough permanent teeth for dentists or orthodontists to make a general assessment. Early orthodontic intervention will make it much easier to begin fixing problems such as spacing issues, uneven teeth, and overcrowding because the teeth and jaw are still growing and developing and are therefore more malleable. While every child will get his or her own specialized plan, here’s what you can expect at your child’s first pediatric orthodontist visit.
Photographs and X-Rays
In order to determine if your child needs braces and to identify any problems, the first thing we will do is take photographs and x-rays of your child’s mouth. The pictures will show us different angles of your child’s teeth and any problems with his or her jaw alignment. The x-rays will allow us to examine both the baby teeth and permanent teeth in your child’s mouth, as well as the health of the jaw and when or if your child needs braces.
If the pictures and x-rays determine that treatment is needed, the next step will be to have impressions taken of your child’s teeth. Sometimes this makes children nervous but you can assure your child that this will be an easy and totally painless process. Impressions are important because it will give us a perfect mold of your child’s teeth and gums and will allow us to know exactly what appliances are needed for treatment. To make impressions of your child’s teeth, we will pour a gooey substance called alginate into a plastic tray and first place it firmly on the lower teeth until it sets. Next we will do the same thing to the upper teeth. When we take the tray out we will have a perfect mold of your child’s teeth.
Estimate Cost Payment Plan
Finally, the last thing we will go through at your first pediatric orthodontist appointment is to make a payment plan. We will give you an estimate of treatment costs and review your insurance benefits, as well as discuss finance options.
The next step will be to sit down with us and come up with a treatment plan that works for you and your child. Together we will create a schedule for having the appliances placed, the different follow up appointments that will be necessary, an estimate of how long appliances will be needed, and how your child can practice good dental hygiene during the process. This is a great time for you and your child to ask us questions or express any concerns you may have.
Our primary goal for you and your child at your first pediatric orthodontist appointment is for you to leave feeling comfortable and well informed. We know this can feel like a long and daunting process and we want to do everything we can to make it an easy and painless process, as well as create a beautiful and confident smile for your child!