The best way to save money for your child’s orthodontic needs is to see a specialist orthodontist, and to see one early. An early visit – at around seven or eight years of age – can be a very wise investment.
Dr Phil Green, one of five Hamilton members of the New Zealand Association of Orthodontists (NZAO), says the best age for your child to see a specialist is as soon as you notice a problem.
“If you are concerned, you definitely should not wait until your child has all their adult teeth, and you don’t need a referral from a dentist or dental therapist to see a specialist orthodontist.”
In a national NZAO survey, two-thirds of the association’s members reported they had experienced patients seeking corrective treatment as a result of treatment by other non-specialist practitioners delivering “orthodontic treatment outside of their professional expertise”.
Dr Green says this issue is becoming all too common and urges parents to seek the advice of a registered specialist.
“Only NZAO orthodontists have the knowledge and training to advise on a full range of orthodontic treatment options for straightening teeth, improving bite patterns and creating great smiles,” he said.
An orthodontist is a registered dentist who has undertaken an additional 2-3 years of full-time postgraduate university education specialising in orthodontics. Early treatment by a specialist orthodontist in appropriate cases can reduce or may eliminate the need for more extensive treatment at a later age.
“Parents are often surprised to learn that some problems can be corrected by a specialist orthodontist using basic appliances in a remarkably short time – with quite startling results,” Dr Green said.
“We offer a great range of payment plans over the term of treatment which makes orthodontic treatment surprisingly affordable. Like a gym membership or tuition fees for a musical instrument, orthodontics is a solid investment in your child’s future.”
Dr Green says orthodontists spend a great deal of their post graduate training studying facial growth and development.
“Apparent problems in younger children are often just part of the normal stage of pre-teen dental development and will correct themselves. A specialist orthodontist has the knowledge and experience to recognise what treatment is best carried out early and, of equal importance, what treatment should be delayed until most of the adult teeth have erupted.”
Dr Green says it is important to have an assessment completed by a registered specialist orthodontist at an early age. This ensures any issues can be monitored and corrected in a timely manner, leading to a better long-term outcome for the patient.
“The number of children who walk out of their orthodontist’s office after treatment holding their heads high and meeting the world with a big, beautiful smile is just marvellous,” he says.
“To be sure you’re seeing a specialist orthodontist, always look for the NZAO logo.”
All NZAO members are trained in the appropriate application and use of orthodontic appliances, and keep up-to-date with the latest trends and improvements in orthodontic treatment to deliver the best results for patients in their care.