5 Things You Should Know About Pediatric Orthodontics
Recently at an event for Invisalign Teen, I had the opportunity to interview NYC-based orthodontist Dr. Jacqueline Fulop-Goodling and learn about the importance of early intervention when it comes to the care of your child’s teeth and face.
1. Understand that Orthodontics is more than about straight teeth.
Orthodontics is “dentofacial orthopedics” and this important because some parents get stuck on the visual of just their child’s straight teeth. Some parents think if their kid has a great smile then they’re in the clear. However, orthodontists look at more than just the smile and examine the movement and growth of the jaw (for under- and over-bites) and use panoramic xrays to look at tooth follicles checking for impacted, missing and overcrowded teeth. And that is why you need to…
2. Take your child for his/her first orthodontic screening by age seven
What really struck me was how Dr. Jacqui shared how sometimes when she sees kids at ages eleven or twelve she finds herself expressing that she wished she had seen these kids a few years earlier. At age 7, most children’s first molars have erupted and most children complete their dental growth by age 12. So, being seen early for orthodontic intervention, like for teeth over-crowding for example, decreases the need for extraction of permanent teeth.
3. Get recommendations
Visit braces.org, the clearing house of the American Association of Orthodontists to understand what to expect and also get recommendations of orthodontists in your area. Also ask your pediatric dentist and friends for suggestions. Be aware that not every pediatric orthodontist is trained in all technologies, like the clear aligners Invisalign, for example. If you want all options and advanced technologies presented as an option, you need to do your research.
4. Get a second opinion
Though the cost of orthodontia is no longer akin to mortgaging a house (as I remember it was during my youth), it’s not inexpensive either. Before settling on a treatment plan, don’t hesitate getting a second opinion. No confident orthodontist will mind you confirming with another professional that his plan is a sound one for your child, if indeed it is.
5. Understand developments in technology
Just over the past couple of years there have been technological advances in clear aligners for children and teens particularly addressing one of the biggest concerns out there… compliance. That is, pediatric orthodontists have been concerned about kids not wearing their removable aligners. Now there are compliance indicators built-into aligners that handle that issue. But, I use compliance as an example to highlight that understanding the features and benefits of clear aligners and metal braces can go a long way in helping your son or daughter through a process they most likely face reluctantly. If you understand the technologies that exist today you can help them. Assuaging your daughter’s concerns and fears can be as easy helping her understand that orthodontic technologies now exist that are very inconspicuous. For all you know in her head she could still have that image of Darla from Finding Nemo as the poster child for orthodontics. Truth is, orthodontic technology has come a long way, baby.