How to Find a Good Pediatric Orthodontist

June 2013

Understanding what the role of a pediatric orthodontist is and being aware of the resources available in your community is an important responsibility for the parents in finding a respected, reputable and licensed pediatric orthodontist. Some parents think if their child has straight teeth (balance) 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/over-bites) and use panoramic X-rays to look at tooth follicles checking for impacted, missing and overcrowded teeth. And that is why you need to find a good pediatric orthodontist.

Pediatric orthodontists are specialists who are trained to interact with children and manage their dental needs. Visiting an orthodontist while children are young can help prevent potential problems in the future including: overcrowding or deformities of the teeth, malformation of the jaw or other conditions that early intervention can help a child to achieve a normal healthy set of teeth. They can also be taught about good oral hygiene and how to keep their mouths and gums healthy to prevent cavities or other dental issues.

  • The first step of finding a good pediatric orthodontist is to contact your local dental associations. They can provide a list of the available practitioners in your local area. An orthodontist in your local community will make it more convenient for you. Local community practices know many of the children and schools in the area which will be helpful in creating a positive environment and experience for your child. The association may be able to assist you with identifying practices which are specialized and this may aid in your decision. Additionally, you will be able to establish whether your health insurance will cover your child’s orthodontic treatment. Always double check the particular details of your health insurance to make sure that you are fully covered and don’t end up with large out of pocket expenses that you were not expecting.

  • A good pediatric orthodontist can help assess the growth of the jaw as well as the development of your child’s teeth. Orthodontic issues can be more easily treated during childhood since the teeth and jaws of a child allow easier re-shaping. The American Orthodontic Association recommends that you take your child for his/her first orthodontic screening by age seven. 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. When a child or teen sees the orthodontist for the first time at age 11 or 13, these are the cases in which the orthodontist wishes that the patient had come in for an evaluation a few years earlier.

  • Understanding Developments in Technology. It is important for parent to understand the developments in technology mean that the children of today don’t have to endure uncomfortable treatments. Just recently within the last two years, technological advances in clear aligners for teens have helped ensure that there is compliance with wearing a removable aligner. This used to be a concern for orthodontists, but now there are compliance indicators built into the aligners that manage this issue. This will ensure they feel less self-conscious about orthodontic treatment and will be more willing to continue with the course of treatment.

  • Try to obtain referrals from friends, family or colleagues for pediatric orthodontists that their family has used. A referral from someone you trust will boost your confidence in the service and care that your chosen professional will provide. If you are unable to obtain a referral, then don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions before committing to a practice. Reputable practices understand that they will be taking care of your child and you will have concerns or worries. They will happily take the time to answer any questions and fully explain any treatment methods which they feel are necessary for your child.

Visit your potential practices to ensure you feel comfortable with the professionalism of the staff and the ambience of the office. This will ease your fears and ensure your child feels totally relaxed and comfortable during their visits for treatment.

If you are in the Fremont area and looking for a pediatric orthodontist, please contact Fremont Orthodontics. Dr. Patricia Choi has a great deal of experience and expertise in all aspects of orthodontics and we specialize in pediatric orthodontics and can offer comprehensive and high quality care for your child.

Call for a Free Initial Consultation 510.792.2333.