How to Choose the Best Orthodontist for Kids | Making Lemonade

Tips for finding an orthodontist that exceeds expectations, and our son’s experience getting early intervention orthodontic treatment and braces for the first time. If you are looking for an orthodontist for braces or Invisalign in the Cary, Apex or Morrisville, North Carolina area this will be especially helpful!

For more real life parenting solutions, check out how to set up the ideal home learning space and how to organize school papers for grades k-12.

This is a different type of post today, but let’s file it under ‘maintaining mental health and sanity’ both as a parent and a kiddo, as well as helpful life tips when you have a preteen or teen. If you have kids, you’ll want to keep reading for tips to help them adjust to new situations when it comes to orthodontic treatments!

We always knew my son would need braces, so we weren’t surprised during an annual visit to the dentist when they referred him for orthodontic treatment. What DID surprise me was that he had to get an evaluation at an early age… 8 years old! Turns out it’s smart to get a screening around 7 years old because with certain issues early intervention would make things easier down the road.

This was the case with my son, so it was time to get started.

Considering that a huge percentage of the population has a fear of dental work and we’ve had negative experiences in the past, I knew we had to find an orthodontist that was patient centered. Also, since orthodontic visits are frequent during the treatment period I was nervous about the daunting task of convincing an 8 year old to go to his appointments without an argument.

Plus… getting braces isn’t known for being super fun because the whole point of appliances is to move teeth around which takes some finesse. And by ‘finesse’, I mean it can be a little uncomfortable after adjustments and such. Which is… not ideal for an 8-year-old.

Let’s just say I was not looking forward to this. At all. But after our first visit I was so impressed with the experience that I’m now partnering with Bovenizer & Baker Orthodontics to share our journey in this post!

Our Orthodontic Experience

(Important note: the following experience and photos happened prior to the pandemic, so some of these details may have changed– but the warmth and vibe of the office remains the same.)

We learned of a local Cary orthodontic practice (Bovenizer & Baker Orthodontics) through glowing-ly positive word-of-mouth recommendations, and booked a screening appointment. The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the happy vibe. Weird, because we’re in an orthodontic office, and that’s not how I remembered the experience when I was a teen!

When I booked the appointment over the phone I noticed the staff was incredibly welcoming and warm, and this continued when we arrived and checked into the waiting room. There were fresh cookies, a beverage machine and Starbucks for parents. Movies were playing to provide entertainment, and all the kids waiting seemed… super chill and not at all nervous. In fact, they were smiling while coming out of the treatment area. I wasn’t expecting that!

They gave us a tour of the office which included a toothbrushing station with environmentally friendly disposable toothbrushes, toothpaste and mouthwash.

We went back for the consult, and they took photos of my son’s teeth, mouth and face. Everything was top of the line and included advanced technology which made the process fast and comfortable. After meeting Dr. Bo and Dr. Baker and going through what the process would entail, we were given a welcome kit that included a way to earn points toward prizes, a view of the prize wall, and a packet of Dippin’ Dots (usually those are for cooling the mouth after procedures, so fun!)

My son’s eyes bugged out of his head when he saw the treat wall that patients get to enjoy after they have their braces off. It’s filled with all the goodies you typically have to avoid while wearing appliances, so it’s a powerful motivator.

Needless to say, we left that appointment beyond impressed. Ben was smiling and chowing down on Dippin’ Dots and looking forward to his next appointment. That’s a huge WIN in my book!

I was so impressed I even posted about it on Instagram, because I’m a huge advocate for local businesses… especially ones that go above and beyond.

Over the next few months, he had a spacer placed and then braces. It was incredible how fast they worked to expand his palate, shift his teeth, and create room for new teeth to grow and prevent impacted teeth. He went from start to finish in about 6 months, finishing just before the pandemic hit.

The difference is wild. In deference to his privacy, I won’t share the mouth photos but needless to say the Before and Afters show a much wider arch and all his teeth in their proper place without crowding. It’s pretty cool to see! This photo was taken after his braces were off, the entire process happened during his 4th grade year:

The follow-up appointments were different because the pandemic was in full-swing and they took major precautions (which is the only way I was going to send my son, considering the fact the other three members of our family are high-risk.) I felt extremely safe with all the systems they put into place to keep their patients safe and healthy, which is BEYOND appreciated in this environment.

Now, Ben will have a few check-in appointments moving forward until he’s ready for full braces in a few years. There is no doubt where we will go for that process!

If you have kids who may need orthodontic work, it’s important to find a practice that combines top-notch skill with a comforting, welcoming environment– especially at such a young age.

For locals in the Apex/ Cary/ Morrisville area, you can call Bovenizer & Baker Orthodontics for a screening appointment and they’ll be honest with their diagnosis. I’ve already had friends set up screening appointments and discover their kids won’t need braces until later, so I know they’re not a practice that will recommend treatment if it’s not needed. I trust them completely.

What to look for in an orthodontic practice

After going through this experience and talking with other parents, here’s a few tips for what to look for when searching for a great orthodontist:

What age do you recommend starting orthodontic treatment?

The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends age 7 for an initial consultation, but most kids don’t get braces until age 12 or 13. It’s good to get checked at age 7 to ensure there are no impacted teeth or other issues that need to be addressed with Phase 1 or early intervention, as some interventions need to happen during a specific growth phase.

Why We Chose Bovenizer & Baker Orthodontics

They checked every single box in the ‘what to look for in an orthodontic practice’ list above. Plus they have a huge presence in terms of giving back to the community (such as their Chance to Smile program, which gives free orthodontic treatment to foster children in our area!)

When I asked my son to summarize his experience, he said

“they made it fun to get braces and I looked forward to going. I mean, I didn’t think that getting braces could be FUN but it really was!”

Even if you’re not in the Apex or Cary area, I highly recommend checking out the Bovenizer & Baker Orthodontics website so you can see their office in action! It will help you measure your local orthodontic practices against their standards so you can find the perfect fit for your family.

I had many questions as a parent before going through the process so I hope you found these tips for choosing an orthodontist helpful!

This content was originally published here.

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