Is your daughter a preteen who has less than perfectly straight teeth? If so, your dentist has probably already told you that you should take her to an orthodontist in Aurora IL for a consultation. Dentists are able to tell before a child reaches 10 years old that she will probably need braces, but the process does not usually begin until she nears her teen years. This is considered an optimal time for applying braces, as all permanent teeth have emerged (except for wisdom teeth, which erupt in late teens or early adulthood) but are still quite malleable. However, you may have some questions about the professional to whom you will be entrusting your daughter's mouth (not to mention a lot of your money), and about how the whole process works.
An orthodontist is considered a specialist within the field of dentistry. (You can click through for additional info on this matter.) He starts out with a bachelors degree, which is usually in a science field such as biology or anatomy. If he attends a university that offers a degree in pre-dental (similar to pre-med), he may choose that as his major. After graduating from college, he will have to attend dental school. Dental school is very competitive, with only 65 schools in the nation. Not every state has a dental school. Four years of dental school will award him a degree of either DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DDM (Doctor of Dental Medicine). At this point, he can take the National Board Dental Examination and will be qualified to practice as a dentist. However, to become an orthodontist he then has to complete a post-doctoral program in orthodontics and take certifying exams through either the National Board of Orthodontics or the American Board of Orthodontics. It may set your mind at ease to know that he has to regularly recertify both as a dentist and as an orthodontist in order to retain an active professional license. As you can see, an orthodontist in Aurora IL is highly educated and experienced.
The orthodontic process starts with a free consultation. This allows you and your daughter to see if you feel comfortable with the orthodontist in Aurora IL to whom your dentist has referred you. If not, you can try the next name on the list he has provided to you. During the consultation, the orthodontist will examine your daughter's mouth and review records that your dentist has sent over to his office. He will look at any X rays your dentist has provided, and may take additional ones himself. Orthodontists often use specialized X rays that are panoramic, so that they can get a view of the entire mouth at once.
After the consultation, the orthodontist will tell you and your daughter whether or not he believes she needs braces. In many cases, orthodontists will want to wait a period of time (usually six months to a year) before making such a big decision; they want to watch and see how the teeth settle in during that period of time. However, if he feels your daughter needs braces right away, he will tell you what he believes needs to be done and outline his plan of action to you.
The next step will be for you to determine how you are going to pay for your daughter's braces. The average cost for braces is several thousand dollars, and not all dental insurances cover orthodontics. Even if your insurance does offer this kind of coverage, your share of cost is likely to be substantial. You can choose to take out a loan on your own for the cost of the braces; this way you can pay in full up front, which usually will allow you a discount. You could take advantage of in house financing offered by the orthodontist's office. Some offices will allow you to make a large down payment and then make installment payments each month over the course of treatment, which is usually about a year and a half. Either way, you will need to decide on a method of payment before the orthodontist in Aurora IL will proceed.
Once payment is arranged, your daughter will see the orthodontist a few times while he prepares to apply the braces to her teeth; these visits will involve measurements and molds so that he can plan most effectively. Then the big day will come, and he will put the braces on in a procedure that takes an hour or two. The two of you will be given firm instructions about how to care for her mouth over the time she has braces.
If your dentist has referred you to an orthodontist, you should know that he is a highly experienced dental professional who will provide excellent treatment for your daughter.