The best time to get orthodontic treatment is directly after the second molars erupt. This is usually between 9 and 13 years of age. This is not exactly the easiest era of a child’s life, and it is not the best time for cooperation, and yet, medically speaking, this is the ideal time to use orthodontics. Why? Because this is the magic window in which the jawbone is as soft and supple as possible yet all of the teeth have already erupted, which means it’s easy to see how and in what ways the teeth are going to grow. But reaching this age group is difficult, and the potentially painful and definitely uncomfortable orthodontic treatment can be made all the more difficult by an orthodontist who doesn’t like or understand kids. Here are some of the tell-tale signs of a kid friendly dental clinic that can make orthodontic treatment easier and comfortable.
The most important thing is that the dentist and the clinic have a kid-friendly attitude. When you go to the reception area, for example, there should be something other than just GQ magazines. There can be kid magazines or a box of crayons and something to colour on, for example. Not every dentist office has the possibility to keep toys, a playground, or even a kid’s corner, but this does not mean that they aren’t kid friendly. If they have any kids stuff in the reception area, that is a good sign.
The crux of the whole dental clinic is of course the dentist him/herself. The attitude should be apparent from the first consultation session. If the dentist is friendly with the kids, and is able to talk to them on their own level, then you have a pretty good chance that this person has the patience, discipline, and empathy that makes a truly good dentist.
The icing on the cake is the small concessions and little creative ideas that a person who likes kids will drop in order to make their dental clinic palatable to kids and to their parents. One orthodontist had a treasure chest in his office for example, and after every activation session, the kid could go in the chest and take something they like. There was nothing really memorable or expensive in the chest, but it was a good little idea; stickers, some plastic toys, pencils, a few braces-friendly snacks, and other such things awaited the kids after they had their braces tightened. It’s these little ideas that really make an orthodontist a hit with the kids, which makes them less afraid and more cooperative, creating less stress and a good feeling about going to the activation sessions.