I did, for 25 years, full service orthodontics up through final braces. My orthodontics specialized in very young patients, age 5 through 9 who had significant problems that could be intercepted at this young age more simply than if we were to wait for more growth. This was helpful for the orthodontists in my area who did not wish to have a 5 year old on the schedule. Orthodontic offices are geared for pre-teens, teens and adults. A 5 year old was like a monkey wrench in the works.
These severe cases obviously involved long (ten year) treatment plans. No, braces were not on for ten years, but the monitoring and short treatment phases spanned ten years. At my age it no longer makes sense to start these cases
I have a good working relationship with the local orthodontists and can refer you to one who will address your needs appropriately.
Things to look for in an orthodontic relationship:
- A quality office. Fortunately we are in an area where I can say the offices are all good.
- A good relationship between the orthodontist and the patient. There is a tremendous amount of cooperation necessary from the patient, and a patient who has a friendly relationship with his orthodontist is much more likely to follow through with recommendations. Be comfortable with the treatment proposal being made. If you have questions, seek a second opinion. If the office is for any reason uncomfortable, visit another, meet another staff & doctor. Believe me, every orthodontist wants you to feel comfortable and encourages you to find that compatible place. There is nothing more problematic for doctor and patient alike than a sour relationship half way through treatment.
- Convenient location. The relationship with the orthodontist is a long one, typically 2 years and more, requiring monthly visits during week days. Many appointments are during after school hours, but several are not. Think about transportation to those appointments, and whether you prefer close to home, to work, or to school.
- Be willing to ask questions about all aspects of treatment and expect a doctor and staff that is willing and comfortable giving you answers.