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What is an Observation Patient?

What is an observation patient

What is an Observation Patient?

Many parents are surprised to learn that their children need to visit an orthodontist by the age of seven. It may seem early, but the American Association of Orthodontists agree that early checkups are the key to diagnosing potential orthodontic problems. And in many cases, there are interventions that can even prevent problems or lessen their severity. Early appointments are the best way to shorten treatment times in the future and can even save you money. 

 What is an Observation Patient? 

When children aren’t quite ready for orthodontics appliances, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t ready to be an orthodontic patient. At this phase, we call children “observation patients.” Which is exactly what it sounds like – a patient that we observe without fitting with an orthodontic appliance. More than likely, we will want to see them back in the office once a year for checkups. This will help us monitor growth and stay on top of any developing problems. 

Phased Treatment

There is a chance that at your first appointment Dr. Aimee Skelton may say that your child isn’t ready for braces quite yet, and thus they will officially become an observation patient. But there’s also a chance that they will enter what we call a phased treatment.  Phase 1 patients are generally younger children who need to be fitted with partial braces or a retainer. This is usually done before a child’s permanent teeth have all erupted. After the first phase, a child will then enter into the monitoring period where they’ll be an observation patient. Phase 2 is the final stage of phased treatment and is most often traditional braces or clear aligners treatment.

What to Expect at an Observation Appointment

So, if your child doesn’t need braces yet, you may wonder what is the purpose of an observation appointment! This is an opportunity for the orthodontist to evaluate your child’s primary teeth. They’ll also check to see if the permanent teeth are coming in straight. If there are any problems with your child’s bite or teeth crowding, this is something that the doctor will take into consideration. After understanding your child’s individual issues and growth, the orthodontist will be able to guage when to start treatment. They’ll be able to give you a roadmap of treatment options and times. You can also discuss payment plans and options during this phase.

Get Started

Contact us today to schedule your child’s first evaluation. We’re happy to get you set up on the right path that will lead to the beautiful lifelong smile your child deserves. 

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