My name is Dr. Tim McDonogh, and I’m an orthodontist. When people hear what I do for a living, they almost automatically… wince! They try not to be too obvious about it. (Hey, orthodontists have feelings, too!) But it’s usually there, if only for a brief moment.
My name is Dr. Tim McDonogh, and I’m an orthodontist.
When people hear what I do for a living, they almost automatically… wince! They try not to be too obvious about it. (Hey, orthodontists have feelings, too!) But it’s usually there, if only for a brief moment.
It’s okay; I’m used to it. The fact is, the less you know about orthodontics, the more reason you have to be afraid of it. Once upon a time, orthodontists meant one thing: heavy, ugly, tight and painful metal braces.
They were hard to put on, hard to keep on and painful to remove. They meant avoiding certain foods and even activities for a long, long time. Many people still cling to the unfounded notion that all braces are created equal; and are performed the same way they were back in 1982.
The fact of the matter is that orthodontics is more than just braces. How much more? Technically speaking, orthodontics is the specialty of dentistry devoted to building beautiful smiles by bringing teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment.
Straight teeth simply function better, are easier to clean and are more likely to last your lifetime. Properly aligned jaws may reduce the risk of Tempro-Mandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJD). Orthodontics is a wonderful investment with life-long returns, and yet people still fear sending their child to the orthodontist for one simple reason: Fear of pain!
In fact, the one recurring theme I hear about people going to the orthodontist is that it’s going to hurt. (Short answer, it doesn’t) But there are lots of other fears that keep people from coming to see my colleagues and me.
What are some of them and, what’s more, how many of them are actually true? I will say that, in my experience, the following are The Top-5 Reasons People Avoid Seeing the Orthodontist:
1. Patients are afraid it’s going to hurt. Pain is the number one reason most people avoid going to the orthodontist. In fact, modern technology—and choosing the right orthodontist—can ensure that your child enjoys a pain-free orthodontist experience.
2. Patients are afraid it’s going to cost too much. Not only are most orthodontic procedures more affordable than ever, but also payment plans and a variety of other financing options make this all but a moot point for most of my patients. Remember, orthodontists aren’t in this to get rich; they’re here to make sure that your child’s teeth, smile and jaw are aligned to make his or her life better—full stop. We’re not going to let something like price get in the way of creating a better, safer, healthier smile for your child. In the UK we have a strong NHS. If a child is under 18 years old and has a non-cosmetic need for orthodontics they can be provided free depending on the area that you live in and the services available.
3. Patients are afraid it’s going to take too long / miss too much school or work. Regardless of the type of orthodontic procedure your child needs, time is of the essence. Modern technology and ease of access allows us to work around your child’s school schedule with a minimum of absences. After initial visits and barring the actual procedure itself, most visits and/or adjustments are routine and can take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes usually over 6-8 weeks.
4. Patients do not see the need to take action. Crooked or unaligned smiles can take time to happen, but the time to act is now. Orthodontic irregularities don’t just heal on their own or “go away” if you ignore them. Your child’s smile and their overall dental health are more important than pain, convenience and price.
5. Patients have been treated in the past with an attitude of indifference. Let’s face it, not all doctors and dentists are created equal. Every profession has its “bad apples” and to say dentistry is the exception would be to write fiction instead of fact. There is no room for indifference when it comes to your child’s healthcare.