July 10, 2017
Ah, summer. The days are long, the pools are cool, and best of all, the alarm clocks are silent!
You probably aren’t thinking about your teeth while you’re out enjoying all the lazy, hazy sunshine you can soak up, but believe it or not, this is the perfect time of year to explore new orthodontic treatment options for your child. But first things first!
Has your child had a full orthodontic evaluation yet? Dudley Smiles – along with the American Association of Orthodontists – recommends all children be screened for orthodontic issues before they reach the age of seven. This allows any active treatment needed to begin between the ages of 10-14, which we prefer because that’s when most permanent teeth have already erupted. However, it’s sometimes better for treatment to start earlier in order to take advantage of the natural growth process of the jaw. Whether your child is seven or seventeen, we believe summer is the best time of the year to start orthodontic treatment. Why? Let’s take a look!
More flexibility with appointments
During the school year, it often seems like there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Homework, sports, and other extracurricular activities can run you off your feet and have you feeling like you can’t possibly fit one more thing into your already busy schedule, but this is an excellent time to bring your child in for their free initial consultation. This appointment takes a little extra time because it covers quite a bit of ground, and includes things like:
-a review of your child’s dental and medical history forms
-an oral exam with X-rays to determine if any treatment is necessary
-creating a customized treatment plan for your child based on their specific needs
-a discussion about financial information, insurance options, and the affordable payment plans we offer
An important point to remember is that once your child’s orthodontic treatment begins, office visits don’t end. We’ll still need to see them about once every 4-8 weeks for check ups to be sure everything is progressing the way that it should be. This can take some getting used to, and summer is a much easier time to get into a new routine since your family’s schedule tends to be more open and relaxed.
Speaking of new routines….
Modern orthodontics have made some big changes to treatments like traditional braces, which are much lighter and much more comfortable than they’ve been in years past. They do still take some time to feel comfortable with, though. An aching mouth can happen once the braces go on and sometimes after adjustments, and there are also several food restrictions for kids to get used to. These things can be a distraction when they’re trying to get through the school day! Outside of the classroom and lunchroom, however, your child can avoid the temptation of all those sticky, sugary, crunchy snacks their friends have in their lunches, and stick to the soft and simple stuff that will be easy on their mouth.
If you have an older child who’s a good candidate for Invisalign, there’s still a slight learning curve involved. The Invisalign clear aligner system works by wearing a series of removable aligners over the teeth daily, which make slight adjustments to their positions over time. These aligners are replaced every 1-2 weeks, which allows the tooth straightening process to continue. The key to getting the best results lies in wearing them as directed — keeping them in for less than the recommended 20-22 hours every day can result in extending your child’s treatment time.
With no homework, tests, or school projects hanging over their head, the relaxed atmosphere summer provides is a fantastic time to get used to the ins and outs of orthodontic treatment from the air-conditioned comfort of home.
Extra time for perfecting an oral hygiene routine
During the school year, we know how easy it can be to slack off on even the most basic brushing routine. Those early morning wake-up calls and late night study sessions can leave your child ready to fall into bed without even glancing at their toothbrush! But having a good dental hygiene routine is one of the most important things your child can do to achieve, and maintain a beautiful, healthy smile. We recommend brushing and flossing thoroughly at least 3-4 times daily, once after each meal and again before bed.
Orthodontic treatment can straighten teeth, but it won’t keep them clean! As a matter of fact, braces will take a little extra effort when it comes to dental hygiene, due to all the nooks and crannies, and it can take some experimenting to find a routine that works. Not having to get up at the crack of dawn or be in bed by a certain time means your child will have plenty of hours left in the day to practice achieving the kind of oral hygiene that will keep their smile healthy and happy.
Your child’s summer smile with Dudley Smiles
With everyone enjoying a break from the stresses of school, there’s no better time than summer for your child to begin their journey towards a straighter smile. Dudley Smiles is here to get them started! Our experienced and talented team believe in making orthodontic visits a surprisingly enjoyable experience. We want our patients to feel like family from the first appointment to your last.
With conveniently located offices in both Issaquah and Kent, we’re dedicated to creating a fun, friendly atmosphere where we treat the whole person, and not just the teeth. Your child’s overall oral health is our ultimate goal, but we’re able to give them a beautiful and functional smile in the process. If you’re in Issaquah, Kent, or any of the surrounding areas, and have a child you think may benefit from orthodontic treatment like braces or Invisalign, get in touch today to schedule their free initial evaluation.
Summer, spring, winter, or fall, all you have to do is call!