If you’ve noticed issues with your smile or your child’s smile, you may be wondering if it’s a good time to start treatment with an orthodontist, but waiting on your dentist to suggest it. Although some dentists do refer their patients to trusted orthodontic professionals, a referral from a dentist isn’t necessary to start seeing an orthodontist. In fact, if you think you could benefit from orthodontic treatment, you definitely shouldn’t wait for a referral to go see an orthodontist. And added.
When to See an Orthodontist
It’s recommended that children see an orthodontist as early as age seven. This is due to the fact that oftentimes young patients may need two-phase orthodontic treatment to help correct the issues with their smile. This is normally started early to achieve maximum results with treatment.
Seeing an orthodontist early can also help correct issues before their bones are fully developed and all of their permanent teeth have erupted. Once this happens, many orthodontic issues become more difficult to treat.
Why Waiting for a Dentist Referral Is Not Recommended
It’s not recommended to wait for a referral from your dentist to begin orthodontic treatment. Many parents wait for their dentist to refer their child, which may never happen, and by the time the child finally starts treatment, they are well into their teenage years. Studies have shown that parents wait for a referral, only to never get one. And their children, who could have benefited from earlier treatment, don’t see an orthodontist until as late as age 14.
A referral to a specific orthodontist isn’t always the right way to go either, especially if you are unfamiliar with them. It’s important to do your own research and find the orthodontist who works for you rather than just going with the one you are referred to. Many patients speak to three or more orthodontists, including the one who was referred to them, before choosing the one who meets their criteria.
Starting Orthodontic Treatment
The best way to begin orthodontic treatment is to address the issues with your smile or your child’s smile as soon as you can. Issues that may be indicators for needing treatment include:
- Crooked or crowded teeth
- Abnormal bite
- Sounds coming from the jaw
- Difficulty chewing or biting
- Speech difficulties
- Mouth breathing
If you feel as though you’re in need of orthodontic treatment, don’t wait for a referral to schedule an appointment. You may be waiting for a referral that never comes or get referred to someone who doesn’t mesh well with you.
So, do you need a dentist referral to see an orthodontist? The answer is no.