Many parents will face the prospect of choosing an orthodontist for their children. Getting the right dentist is especially important for a process that will go on over a period of time. In this report, Dr. Matthew Freedman, an experienced orthodontist, explains what parents should think about and look for when making the big decision.
The obvious first consideration is proximity. Parents need to think about where they live, where they work, and what their schedules are like, including their children’s school schedules. Monthly visits to the dentist will require that everything fits together.
Dr. Freedman suggests that parents find an orthodontist who can deal directly with their dental insurance company. “That will be an important piece of the puzzle” for families with insurance. Dr. Freedman says that his office handles the insurance for his patients, submitting the claim and dealing with insurers to get claims paid. Patients then pay only the amount not covered by insurance and are spared a lot of hassle.
Parents should try to find an office they like, one that is pleasant to visit and that makes them and their children feel good. Monthly visits to the orthodontist should be a good experience. Parents should look for a dental office they will want to come back to.
Dr. Freedman points out that there are things parents should avoid. First off, watch out for “anything that sounds out of the ordinary.” Most parents know how their children’s teeth look (and it’s easy to take a look). Parents usually have a sense of how bad their children’s teeth are and how much work might be involved. Parents should be wary of strange dental appliances or a treatment plan that doesn’t make sense. Parents need to get an idea of how much it will probably cost them before they commit to working with an orthodontist.
Another thing parents should be aware of is that some practices will have several orthodontists. It is important that a child sees the same dentist every time. Otherwise, there may be no consistent course of treatment.
Parents will want to inquire how an orthodontist deals with children, particularly as regards calming them. Dr. Freedman’s office uses an approach of telling children what the doctor will do, then showing them how it will work, then doing the treatment. Avoiding surprises will make children calmer and more confident about their treatment. Dr. Freedman also recommends using a computer simulation to show a child how the teeth will move around during treatment.
Dr. Freedman notes that orthodontic practice doesn’t involve pain and needles in the office. So a calm, confident doctor will make the children feel better. Patience is a good thing in an orthodontist.
Dr. Freedman’s key suggestion: “Follow your gut.” Parents need to be guided by their good instincts and pick a doctor and an office that make them feel comfortable. If the fee sounds wrong, you may want to look for alternatives.
Matthew Freedman, D.M.D. is an orthodontist practicing with Main Street Children's Dentistry and Orthodontics of Naples, Florida. He attended dental school at Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Freedman started practices in Naples, Bonita Springs, and Ft. Myers. Currently the dental director for the Main Street Children’s Dentistry and Orthodontics group, he still practices full time in Naples, where his son attends the Community School of Naples. Dentist News Network is a featured network of Sequence Media Group.