Many of you have read one of the most popular special reports we offer at Collins Orthodontics called "Does My Child Really Need Braces?" (If you don't have a copy, please call my office today and we will be happy to mail you a free copy of the special report: 507-258-5400). However, if you are a busy parent just like me, I know you may not have time to sit down a read a full report. Just last week, I had a mother of one of our "patients" remind me how busy we all are. She had to go to 8 soccer games in one weekend! She also thanked me for a startling discovery she made in our office. More about this in a minute (and you'll see why I put the word "patients" in quotes).
For your convenience, I've broken down the most important points of the report into readable "bite-sized" chunks so that you can learn the truth about braces...
Bite-Sized Chunk #1: Why Are Some Kids Getting Braces Earlier and Earlier?
Although I have lectured to dentists, pediatric dentists, and orthodontic residents about how to manage the most-common orthodontic problems, I still find that there are many orthodontists who do not like my viewpoint on early treatment. Why? Simple: I'm promoting the truth in our profession (backed up with the gold-standard of rigorously-tested research and scientific study) and the truth is this: the majority of patients do not need early treatment before most of the permanent adult teeth have erupted.
Here's Where It Gets Confusing. I agree with the American Association of Orthodontists. Your child SHOULD see an orthodontist no later than age 7 (for a screening only) in order to determine if he or she can benefit from early treatment. The good news? In my experience, only 5-10% of younger patients actually need early treatment. For those 5-10%, early treatment can literally prevent surgery and extremely expensive orthodontic treatments later in life. These 5-10% who need treatment will likely have one of the following: cross bites, severe crowding, jaw alignment issues, early loss of baby teeth, late loss of baby teeth, impacted or missing teeth, or finger/thumb habits.
So, Which Is It? Early Treatment Or Not? The bottom line is this: get your child screened by an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. You don't need a referral to schedule this screening. And remember, 90-95% of the time, your child will not require treatment and you can take a big sigh of relief. We will monitor growth until the perfect time for braces and only if they are absolutely necessary.
If your orthodontist tells you that everyone can benefit from early treatment, the simple truth is that we have better research today that has proven this is not the case. I tell parents in these situations to "hold onto your pocketbooks." We can get the same result with less time and money invested.
What One Mom Discovered That Changed Her Daughter's Life and Saved Her Thousands!
Remember the mom I told you about in the beginning of this report? Well, she's one of many parents in our practice with "patients" who aren't really patients. I call them patients because we see them every 6-12 months or so, checking on their growth and development, monitoring and guiding eruption if needed, but none of them have braces on.
This mom, with the busy soccer family, reminded me last week that she had been signed up and ready to start early treatment on her daughter. She was about to spend over $3,500 for early treatment with braces and headgear. She thanked me last week because we were able to avoid all of this treatment and get a beautiful result, without headgear, without early treatment and without wasting any money. I asked her permission to share this story and she insisted that I tell as many people as I can.
Her story is common. She took her daughter to one office that recommended early treatment.
You Have To Ask Yourself...if you can get the same result with less time and money invested, especially considering how busy you are, why would you choose to keep your child in braces for years and years? Missing work, missing school, paying more and allowing your child to suffer through multiple rounds of braces when 90-95% of the time we can get the same result in a single round of treatment or no treatment at all.
OK, That's Great "Doc" But What If I Have More Questions?
I'm including a fantastic resource to help you determine if your child could benefit from early treatment. Remember, if we gathered up 100 kids in 2nd through 4th grade, there's a good chance only 5 or 10 of them would need early treatment. You can download the easy-to-read brochure below:
Our smile specialists are here to help. If you have questions or simply want to schedule your child for a complimentary consultation at our office, please call (507) 258-5400 and ask for a FREE new patient exam with digital x-rays. If you have any special requests, do not hesitate to contact me.
To your children's future smiles,
Grant Collins, DDS, MS