Observation appointments are scheduled for orthodontic patients who are either not quite ready for treatment, are undergoing some type of interceptive treatment, or are waiting for their remaining permanent teeth to erupt. The orthodontist may take a progress x-ray at this appointment to help evaluate your child's dental development. Three things that are normally evaluated at this appointment are:
First, if the patient has had any type of interceptive treatment, the first order of business is checking the stability of the correction. It may be a retainer check, appliance check, or growth check.
Second, the loss of primary teeth and the eruption of the permanent teeth is monitored. If the doctors notice that a primary tooth is not falling out on time, or identify in an x-ray that the permanent teeth are headed in the wrong direction, extraction of those primary teeth may be recommended. If so, we will refer that back to your family dentist. Evaluating the loss of primary teeth and the eruption of permanent teeth does not take much time, but is very important. Ignoring the development problems, however, could potentially add months of treatment time to a patients orthodontic care.
Third, to discuss with the family about the timing of the possible future treatment is necessary. We will never begin treatment before a patient is ready. This might mean staying under observation a few months, or possibly years. If treatment is started too early, your son or daughter may have the braces on too long. If we wait too long to begin treatment, the opportunity to keep treatment time short may be missed, which can extend treatment into the later high school years.
Following your children's development will help them receive the care they need at the appropriate time. Although these appointments are short and sometimes seem like a wasted trip, Dr. Sondhi and Dr. Biggs know exactly what to look for at an observation appointment and will make sure that your child is progressing as expected.
If you ever have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask any one of the Sondhi-Biggs team members to explain your child's progress in the treatment process.