At what age should a child first visit with an orthodontist?

early-orthodonticsDr. Tsintolas and The American Association of Orthodontists encourage a first visit to the orthodontist by age 7, earlier if there is a particular concern.

Parents can feel good about consulting with Dr. Tsintolas for their child’s orthodontic care even if the parent perceives the child too young. Dr. Tsintolas provides an honest assessment of your child’s current and future orthodontic needs. If the best plan is to wait and afford your child more time for tooth eruption and jaw growth, Dr. Tsintolas suggests your child return to the office for periodic monitoring at no charge. The doctor evaluates your child at the prescribed intervals and he reviews and updates the orthodontic plan. Some children remain under Dr. Tsintolas' watchful eye for years until the timing is optimal for orthodontic care. Rest assured, the doctor's priority is the individual patient and he will not recommend unnecessary treatment nor will he push treatment earlier than optimal.

While some children are not developmentally prepared for orthodontic care, others present to the consultation ready to benefit from treatment. Dr. Tsintolas explains the need for orthodontics and the prescribed plan for care. He supports the parent(s) through the decision making process.

The American Association of Orthodontists has prepared a very brief and helpful document on this topic. The Right Time for an Orthodontic Check-Up and Problems to Watch For.

What is the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a specialist and receives years of dedicated training upon completion of dental school.

The extensive training and experience uniquely qualifies an orthodontist to:

  • map a course of effective treatment
  • recognize potential complications
  • deliver efficient care and minimize time in treatment
  • select and utilize appropriate materials
  • address complex cases

The orthodontist marries the alignment of the teeth and jaws with proper function and facial esthetics for all patients in his care.

It is very important to recognize that dentists do not have the specialty training of an orthodontist. While dentists may offer some orthodontic services, orthodontists have expertise in a full spectrum of specialty orthodontics services.

The American Association of Orthodontists has prepared a concise, one page description of an orthodontist, What is an Orthodontist?

Is it a wise strategy to postpone orthodontic care until my child is 13 or all permanent teeth are present?

Delaying orthodontic care until age 13 or until all the permanent teeth are present is a common misconception. Sometimes, the dentist reinforces this notion.

Many treatment options are effective only while a child is actively growing. As a child matures, growth slows. Waiting too long can limit the orthodontic treatment possibilities and adversely impact the outcome of treatment.

The best plan is to seek an orthodontic consultation no later than age 7. Dr. Tsintolas will evaluate the individual needs of each child and conclude if and when orthodontic treatment is advisable. Recommended treatment will be timed to achieve the greatest benefit.

The American Association of Orthodontists has prepared a very brief and helpful document on this topic. The Right Time for an Orthodontic Check-Up and Problems to Watch For.

How much does orthodontic care cost?

The term "orthodontic care" is very broad. Orthodontics is often equated with braces, but an array of treatment possibilities exists:

On one end of the orthodontic spectrum is focused, minimal treatment that necessitates just a few months in treatment. Individuals who are best served with a multi-phase approach populate the other end of the spectrum. Most patients’ care falls somewhere in between. The variation in treatment is extensive. Orthodontic fees reflect the planned treatment.

Fortunately, obtaining an accurate fee quote for your specific orthodontic care is easy. Please schedule an orthodontic consultation with Dr. Tsintolas. The doctor will devote time to a thorough examination after which he will discuss the course of recommended care, treatment options, and the associated fees. Insurance and payment plans are part of this conversation. You will be provided with all the information you need to make an informed decision about orthodontic care.

Dr. Tsintolas is available for assistance should questions arise after consultation.

We regret that quotes cannot be offered over the phone due to the individual nature of each patient’s orthodontic treatment plan.

I am an adult. Aren't braces just for kids?

Orthodontics is for anyone who wishes to improve appearance and function, regardless of age.

Ceramic (tooth colored) braces and Invisalign® are popular choices among adults. Arrange for an orthodontic consultation with Dr. Tsintolas to discuss the best options for you.

To learn more, read the brief document by The American Association of Orthodontists, The AAO Recommends Treatment for Adults, When Appropriate, in Conjunction with Regular Dental Care.

TRUE or FALSE?

Test your knowledge of orthodontics AND learn interesting facts!

The American Association of Orthodontists has produced a brief True or False.

My dentist suggested he/she could provide treatment to accomplish some minor tooth movement to improve my smile. I like my dentist and his/her office is very convenient and familiar. It sounds like a great fit for my needs, right?

Only an orthodontist is a specialist in moving teeth and aligning jaws. An orthodontist completes an orthodontic residency program for a minimum of two years after graduating dental school. Orthodontists are uniquely qualified and utterly focused to providing all orthodontic services to children, teens, and adults. Orthodontists can manage complex cases because of their advanced training and experience. Keep in mind that there are implications to moving a few teeth. An orthodontist sees the big picture and can anticipate issues that a dentist is not trained to expect. Why settle for convenient or familiar when you can have the best treatment available to you and your family?

Do I need to have teeth extracted for orthodontic treatment?

Most patients do not need teeth extracted for orthodontic care.  Dr. Tsintolas is very conservative when recommending extraction of permanent teeth.  If he feels that your best treatment outcome requires the extraction of permanent teeth, he will thoroughly explain why so you are comfortable and confident with his recommendation.

Online, at-home aligners seem so easy, inexpensive, and convenient. My teeth aren’t that crooked. This seems like a great option for a busy person like me who wants to touch up my smile.

Online orthodontics is an enticing option for many people.  Orthodontic treatment without the direct supervision of a hands-on orthodontist is never a good idea.  It is easy to run into trouble with unmonitored or distance-monitored (remote monitored) tooth movement.  It takes two years minimum of education beyond dental school to train an orthodontist because orthodontics is complex.  Orthodontic care is not simple or straightforward even though it has been packaged to the mass market.  Dr. Tsintolas carefully monitors aligner wear to make sure treatment always stays on track and the health of your teeth is preserved.  You can’t compare a do-it-yourself kit to treatment under the watchful eye of a specialist.

Is 13 a magic number?

Many parents believe that 13 is a magic number.  It is the age at which their child is ready to visit the orthodontist, right?  Actually, no.  Dr. Tsintolas and the American Association of Orthodontists recommend children visit with an orthodontist no later than age 7.  Even if the dentist advises a parent to wait a few years before seeking an orthodontic consultation, it is best for a child to visit the orthodontist no later than age 7.  Dr. Tsintolas is trained to evaluate your child and determine the best treatment plan and at what age to implement that plan.  Dr. Tsintolas will periodically examine the child until he or she is ready for treatment.  Parents find it helpful to know in advance about their child’s orthodontic care as it allows them to plan for insurance and flexible spending accounts.