Does your child need braces? Braces can boost your child’s confidence, support correct oral development and improve their health for a lifetime. Perhaps you’ve taken your child for an early orthodontic evaluation or been told by your pediatric dentist that your child needs braces.
Deciding it’s time for your child to get braces is the easy part. Now you need to pick an orthodontist! Keep these considerations in mind:
1. Check credentials.
While some general dentists may offer services like Invisalign, remember that there’s a big difference between an orthodontist and a dentist that does orthodontics. An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has completed an addition two to three years of specialized training beyond dental school. This training also includes between 4,000 to 6,000 hours of specialized clinic experience. While a dentist may be able to provide general advice about the need for orthodontic care, remember that only a licensed orthodontist in Halifax has completed the specialized training through an accredited dental school to provide orthodontic care.
2. Ask for before/after examples.
Schedule a personal visit to the orthodontist’s office and ask for a treatment evaluation and plan. How does this plan compare to what other orthodontists have recommended? During the visit, ask to see before and after pictures of real clients. While some orthodontists may have testimonials on their website, you should also ask to see examples of orthodontic treatment cases that are similar to your child’s.
3. Check online reviews.
While online reviews certainly matter, remember that it’s usually the unhappy patients who are in a rush to post a review about their experience, not the satisfied patients. That said, if an orthodontist has a large number of negative reviews, these reviews are definitely a red flag. Scan the reviews and look for recurring complaints. Did patients frequently run into issues dealing with payment and insurance paperwork? Are patients generally happy with their results but not a fan of the orthodontist’s personality? These complaints may seem minor now, but if you end up spending the next two years dealing with insurance paperwork or a less-than-polite orthodontist, that “minor” problem will quickly become a major headache!
4. Ask about payment plans.
Braces are a major investment and can be a financial hardship for many families. Unfortunately, the cheapest orthodontist could mean a lower quality care for your child. If you are concerned about how to afford braces, ask the orthodontist if they offer payment plans. Here at Docbraces, for example, we offer a no-interest monthly payment plan and directly bill your insurance provider. We take what insurance pays off the top so you never have to deal with the headache of arranging insurance payment yourself.
Benefits of Braces and Early Orthodontic Intervention
According to a study published by the American Journal of Pediatrics, one in three children can benefit from braces or corrective alternatives like palate expanders or space maintainers. Research shows that the earlier your child receive orthodontic treatment, the better the outcomes. That’s why the Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommends all children have an orthodontic check-up by the age of seven. Having an early consultation helps to avoid the need for jaw surgery or other more invasive treatments later in life. Children as young as eight are happier, less anxious and have more self-esteem after improving their smiles, according to research from the American Journal of Orthodontics.
Even if your child does not need immediate intervention when he or she is younger, when your child is aged 11 to 13, it may be time for braces. Improving your child’s smile with braces or other corrective alternatives has the power to boost self-esteem during critical development years– an investment that will truly last a lifetime.
For more information on the benefits of braces, check out our “A Parent’s Guide to the Benefits of Braces”.