How To Get Kids Excited About Their Orthodontic Treatment
Providing orthodontic treatment is a complex task. Not only do you have to execute the technical side of treatment, but there’s also the challenge of maintaining clear communication and good relationships with patients.
Whether it’s cost, treatment time, or scheduling challenges, most people will have some sort of objection to braces that can prevent them from pursuing care. Overcoming these objections can be particularly challenging when working with parents of pediatric patients. This is why effective communication is essential to helping your patients (of all ages) achieve strong, healthy smiles.
Establishing Trust and Building Rapport
Trust must be present in any form of dental care, so both patients and their parents must trust you before you can move forward with treatment and provide the highest quality care. But they will only trust you once they know you will communicate respectfully and that you have their best interests at heart.
To gain this trust, you should first focus on providing patient-centered care. Relationships take time, so be attentive to patients and take the time to engage with them about their needs and concerns. This goes for all patients, of course, not just when working with kids. Employing active listening will help you better understand objections to braces.
Ensuring your communication is clear goes a long way. Visiting the dentist can be a challenging experience for children. Helping them understand the importance of braces and the details of their treatment in simple terms can help assuage any anxiety.
Addressing Common Concerns About Braces
There are certain objections to braces that tend to pop up among children: that treatment will be painful, cause embarrassment, or prevent them from participating in sports. It’s helpful to have clear explanations and responses ready to help you relieve these concerns effectively.
Many children have misconceptions about braces due to their portrayal in pop culture. Assure them that in reality, most people have relatively smooth experiences. Going over the realistic expectations of living with braces can help children come around.
Practical examples of other children who have already had braces can help as well. If you personally have had braces, sharing that experience can help. Consider getting permission from some patients to keep their before and after photos on file to show future patients just how big a difference treatment can make.
Education and Visualization
Most children’s objections to braces stem from a lack of education. Children simply aren’t aware of what braces are all about, which leaves them reluctant to move forward with treatment. As a dentist, it’s up to you to educate your patients effectively to prepare them for treatment.
Visual aids are excellent ways to carry out this education, especially when talking with children. Physical models are great as kids can handle them during your explanation and become more familiar with the concept of braces and oral health in general.
Videos and diagrams are also good choices to accompany any explanations. Make sure to encourage children and parents to bring up any questions they have. Maintaining an open dialogue helps everyone feel more comfortable about proposed ortho treatment, and visual aids can serve as a tool to center that dialogue.
Personalization and Choice
Patients feel more confident in their treatment when they play an active role in the decision-making. With children, treatment decisions ultimately come down to the parents. However, you can take steps to make children feel more engaged in the process.
One of the most common ways to help kids feel involved is by telling them about things they can choose, such as the color of their bands. Personalization requires active participation on the child’s part, which will help them warm up to the idea of braces.
Emphasizing Long-Term Benefits
Orthodontic treatment is incredibly beneficial for long-term oral health. However, a child faced with the immediate prospect of wearing braces for a year or more isn’t thinking about these benefits.
So make sure to reinforce braces’ advantages with young patients and their parents. Explain how braces reduce the risks of tooth decay, gum disease, enamel wear, dental trauma, and TMJ disorders. Emphasize that the vast majority of adults are thankful they had orthodontic treatment as children and still enjoy the long-term benefits today!
Increasing Orthodontic Case Acceptance
To see more patients move forward with the treatment they need, you must be able to effectively overcome their objections. The American Orthodontic Society provides general-dentist orthodontic courses that help you develop communication and other essential soft skills. You can find the right comprehensive training for your needs by browsing our courses.
To learn more about our popular orthodontics courses for pediatric and general dentists, check out one of the upcoming events below.