Did you know children as young as seven years can benefit from orthodontic care? The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children receive a check-up by age seven that evaluates orthodontic health and identifies opportunities for early intervention. Choosing the right orthodontist to perform this checkup – and later provide your child with braces – is an important decision. Between hockey practice and homework, however, it’s easy to put this decision off until the last minute.
Feeling the pressure to make a selection or scrambling to get an appointment? All is not lost. As you begin to narrow down your search, the most important part is the in-person interview. Even if an orthodontist has glowing online recommendations, the in-person interview is still important. This visit is an opportunity to ask the orthodontist questions about his or her approach to care and evaluate the practice as a whole.
You want to be comfortable and confident that the orthodontist you select will offer your child the best possible care at an affordable price. Use these questions to help guide this selection process.
Here are 3 Essential Questions to Ask Your Child’s Orthodontist
How long have you been practicing and what types of cases do you typically treat?
While the length of time practicing is certainly important, you also want to be confident that the orthodontist you choose is fully prepared to meet your child’s unique needs. If your child’s orthodontic needs are a bit more complicated than the typical case, ask to see before and after photos of patients who had similar treatment plans. Finally, ask what type of continuing education or ongoing training the orthodontist and team receive each year. New technology is redefining best practices and treatment approaches. You don’t want to choose an orthodontist that’s still treating patients the exact same way he did 25 years ago when his practice first opened! It’s also important that the practice has modernized with the times and is up-to-date on the latest technology and techniques.
What financing options are available?
Whether your child will be getting braces, Invisalign or another orthodontic treatment option, the final decision often comes down to price. However, it’s important to keep in mind that many factors go into determining the final cost of care. For example, your preferred orthodontist may be slightly more expensive, but if he offers no-interest financing options, you may find that he is actually the more affordable choice in the end. Ask what type of payment plans are available and the interest charges or fees associated with these plans. Can anyone qualify for a payment plan or do you need to pass a credit check first? Finally, consider whether family discounts are available. If you know a younger sibling will be needing braces in the not-so-distance future, it may be more cost effective to choose a provider that offers a family discount.
What is the overall experience like?
When you visit the practice, consider whether the office staff is friendly and approachable. Do they seem easy to work with? Does the practice offer flexible scheduling so your child could visit before or after school, rather than missing class in the middle of the day? Finally, consider whether the orthodontist will “go the extra mile” to support your child’s oral health. As a parent, you know first hand that teens and pre-teens can be pretty stubborn sometimes! Do you get a sense from your visit that the orthodontist will spend a few extra minutes with your child to help make their experience better– or will your child get rushed in and out at every appointment? These little details may seem like extras now, but they’ll go a long way to ensuring you and your child have a positive experience.