Early orthodontic treatment can benefit your smallest patients—and their parents.
Interceptive orthodontic care refers to early orthodontic treatment of children with primary teeth. The goal of interception orthodontics is to control and correct developing malocclusions while the child’s jaw and dental growth are immature. Overbites and underbites are particularly difficult to treat in teenagers since the majority of their jaw and face have attained full growth.
Pediatric interceptive orthodontic care represents the initial phase of treatment for children under 10 years of age. In some cases, early orthodontic care with braces can prevent the future need for more intensive orthodontic work or may help reduce the time a patient needs to wear orthodontic appliances.
General and pediatric dentists who advise parents to consider early orthodontic treatment for their child often learn that parents never follow through with the recommendation. Many parents think their child will “outgrow” a malocclusion because the child still has primary teeth. Others simply do not consider the malocclusion serious enough to warrant orthodontic care. Another common reason involves the time and effort it takes to find a reputable orthodontic clinic that offers convenient appointments and multiple payment methods.
How can pediatric and general dentists make interceptive orthodontic care easier for parents?
The best and only answer to this question is simple: by offering early orthodontic treatment yourself. Not only will incorporating orthodontics into your dental practice keep treatments in-house, but they also provide the following benefits:
- It eliminates the need for dentists to refer parents to an orthodontic practice. In many cases, parents may find they need to travel 20 or more miles to get braces for their child. Whether due to lack of time or transportation issues, this problem alone can cause delays in children getting the orthodontic treatment they need.
- It eliminates the need for additional consultations with other dentists. Working parents just don’t have time to make multiple appointments for multiple consultations at orthodontic offices. By offering orthodontic care, pediatric and general dentists can make it much easier for parents to adhere to an early orthodontic treatment plan.
- A patient-dentist relationship has already been established. It’s likely a child has been seeing the same dentist since their first dental examination. Parents not only trust you but your patient does as well. Everyone involved knows what to expect during and after a visit to your practice and your staff already has relevant information on file.
- Parents know they can contact you and receive a quick response. Chances are your patients’ parents live within 5 to 10 miles of your dental practice and can bring their child in within hours of making an appointment. Following orthodontic work on their child, they will probably have many follow-up questions about how to brush teeth with braces or what to do if their child loses a retainer. Pediatric and general dentists who can provide interception orthodontic care are removing a lot of stress from parents who worry about communicating with a new dentist.
- Ability to ease the fears of parents and their children. Dentists know from experience how common dentophobia is. Unfortunately, a parent’s dentophobia may sometimes cause their child to miss getting early orthodontic treatment. Parents may be afraid that braces will inflict pain, stain, or otherwise damage their child’s teeth, or worry their child will be called names at school. With the ability to provide orthodontics, dentists can counsel the parent and child at the same time and explain exactly what to expect from wearing braces.
Adding orthodontics to your practice will also grow your practice, improve your professional reputation, and make you stand out from the competition.
By becoming qualified to provide pediatric orthodontics, you also ensure a patient’s teeth develop properly from infancy through their teenage years. Parents should be educated about the numerous advantages of getting a child early orthodontic treatment when needed.
Interceptive orthodontic care using braces and retainers:
- Corrects overbites, underbites, and crossbites that can interfere with speech.
- Prevents permanent teeth from erupting in overcrowding positions.
- Improves biting and chewing abilities (problems with chewing food may lead to nutritional or gastrointestinal issues).
- Reshapes abnormally narrow dental arches.
- Significantly reduces the risk of dental problems in adulthood.
- Improves self-esteem in older children and adolescents.
The American Orthodontic Society Offers orthodontic courses for pediatric and general dentists.
Being a member of the American Orthodontic Society (AOS) not only facilitates incorporating early orthodontic treatment into your practice, but also means discounts on orthodontic continuing education courses essential for maintaining skill sets that are current with modern orthodontic technology.
Additional advantages to obtaining an AOS membership include:
- Access to the American Orthodontic Society’s Credentialing Program—being credentialed by the AOS contributes to expanding your reputation, credibility, and the recognition of your practice within your community.
- Opportunities to collaborate with other orthodontic practices outside your service area.
- Automatic invitation to the annual conference of American Orthodontics Society members.
- Free subscription to the print and online publications of the Journal of AOS, the pre-eminent academic journal featuring the latest news and emerging technologies in the field of orthodontics.
- Immediate access to templates and forms helpful for streamlining the incorporation of orthodontics into your practice.
If you are a pediatric or general dentist who is interested in adding interceptive orthodontic care to your practice, you can learn more by visiting the AOS website today.
To learn more about our popular orthodontics courses for pediatric and general dentists, check out one of the upcoming events below.