How To Find A Good Orthodontist Without Losing Your Mind (Or Wallet)
When I close my eyes I can still remember the exact feeling of my head the day after my braces were tightened. Or the scraped feeling on the inside of my lips.
I had the full complement of orthodontic wear -- braces, elastics, and the medieval torture device known as a head gear. And I still have an over-bite to show for it.
So it is with trepidation that I re-enter that world with my son. And the bad news is that some things stay the same -- it's still brute force moving the teeth. And the good news is that some things change -- orthodontists are nice now (or at least ours is) and technology has helped refine treatment.
Orthodontists recommend they see kids before the age of seven (we waited until eight). If you are concerned about how and why to get an assessment, here are my tips:
Have a Thorough Evaluation: It's not always about aesthetics. On the surface it is hard to see why my son needs any intervention at all, but his bite his off, which could lead to a lot of problems down the line. A good evaluation will be able to give you timelines, costs and rationalizations for each and every appliance.
Get a Second Opinion: Orthodontists understand that they are offering a service, and they offer free assessments. It's not that much fun for your kid but there are different schools of thought of when to start (earlier? later?) and different styles of practitioners. FInd one that is a good fit with your philosophy, and with your kid. Because my son gets anxious we had to find someone who gave him time to ask questions. And we did. The office we go to is so kind and accommodating that I don't know if I want to cry or make them cookies (or both).
Explore different payment options: Extended coverage doesn't cover too much of orthodontia, but there are different ways of covering the costs - paying it all off upfront, monthly, half and half. Talk to the office and find one that works for you.
Treat your child with respect - it's their mouth, and their pain: Our orthodontist treats my son with respect and made him feel like he had choices in the process. In the end, my son has to choose to take care of his appliances and his mouth and he will do a better job when he feels like his needs are being listened to.
Try and get over your issues: Even though I remember orthodontics as cruel and unusual punishment. I held my tongue and took my son in with an open mind. Turns out his first few days in braces have not been that bad. And he won't need a head gear.
Want more chaos? Last year, I wondered about mothers who smoke.