How to Prepare Your Child for the First Orthodontist Appointment

June 19, 2018
J. Courtney Gorman, DDS, MS

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that parents schedule the first orthodontist appointment for their children by the age of seven. We concur. Visiting a pediatric orthodontist does not mean your child will require braces or treatment right way (or ever). This early orthodontic evaluation simply gives us an opportunity to identify any problems and create the best plan for a healthy smile in the future.

7 More Reasons Your 7-Year-Old Should See a Pediatric Orthodontist

Once you make that first orthodontist appointment for your child, it’s important to share what he or she can expect. That’s why we put together these five tips for preparing your child for that first trip to the orthodontist.

1. Explain clearly the need for the appointment.

It’s helpful for your child to clearly understand why he or she is going to the orthodontist. Braces and Invisalign are used to treat misaligned teeth, imbalanced jaw structures, and improve the smile so your child can be healthier, happier, and more confident. Let your child know that the earlier one sees an orthodontist, the less time treatment will take.

How to Prepare Your Child for the First Orthodontist Appointment

2. Encourage your child that he or she is not alone.

Most kids have a friend, sibling, cousin or someone they know at school who has gone to the orthodontist. Make sure your child understands that this is a very common occurrence for kids their age.

3. Share what to expect at that first orthodontist appointment.

The initial appointment will consist of an oral examination, digital x-rays and photos, as well as a discussion of treatment options. The x-rays help us see what’s going on underneath the gums, the position and growth of bones and joints, and the location of any teeth still below the gum line. Then if the doctor feels it is time — and if you feel ready — we can oftentimes start treatment the same day.

4. Meet your orthodontist.

Explain to your child that an orthodontist is similar to the dentist, but has three extra years of training past dental school. They are specialists who diagnose, prevent and treat a variety of dental problems that will have a positive impact on your child’s health, appearance, development, and comfort. In short, they are the experts in straightening teeth and creating beautiful smiles.

5. Introduce the treatment options.

Before going to the orthodontist, you may want to go over the various orthodontic treatment options. While we may or may not start these treatments right away, the information can still be helpful for kids to hear. Some popular treatments include:


Without the use of wires and brackets, Invisalign straightens your teeth with a series of clear, customized, removable aligners. Every one to two weeks, we design a new set of aligners to gradually move your teeth into proper placement. Along the way, patients enjoy the ability to easily remove the aligners for eating, brushing and flossing, without calling unwanted attention to their teeth.

Traditional Braces

Braces use constant, gentle pressure to move teeth into their proper positions over time. The two main components of your braces include: 1) brackets on your teeth and 2) a main archwire to connect them. We first affix the brackets — clear or metal — to each tooth and then thread the wire threads through the brackets to move teeth into ideal alignment.

Palatal Expander

This appliance applies gentle pressure on the upper molars to widen the upper jaw.

Quad Helix

Like the expander, this appliance widens the arch of the mouth to make room for crowded teeth through the use of four springs. The Quad Helix can also correct posterior crossbites.

Lip Bumper

In some situations, we may place a lip bumper appliance to move the molars back and make room for the lower teeth.

At the first orthodontist appointment, we want to determine the best treatment plan for your child — either immediately or sometime down the road. Our biggest desire is to make all your visits pleasant, informative, and productive—and ultimately to give you a happier and healthier smile.

If you’re interested in learning more about orthodontic treatment for your child, don’t hesitate to reach out. We look forward to meeting you!


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  • I love this office. The staff and Dr. Carly are great. I’m having amazing results with my program! I highly suggest it to any and everyone!

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    Mark Roberts

    Fantastic staff who put the person (and their teeth!) at the center of the experience. Child-friendly waiting areas. I've had nothing but good experiences over my nearly 10 years with Gorman and Bunch. Cannot recommend highly enough!

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    Pete Freeman

    I received Invisalign treatment and had a lot going on. As a mom of two children ,under two years old, it’s tough making doctor appointments but let me tell you they make it work! I was with Dr. Carly at the Westfield office and she always encouraged my little sons to come during my appointments. This made things so much easier for me. The staff at Gorman and Bunch were always welcoming and inviting. They would remember you and are honestly genuine people. Let me tell you it is hard finding good medical practices these days but these people are the best. I forever will recommend Gorman and Bunch to young kiddos and adults.

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    Casey Hood

    Personal and professional, everyone always takes great care of my sensitive mouth teen!

    This is our first experience with needing orthodontia, when it’s time for my youngest to get braces, we’ll choose this place again in a heartbeat.

    From the team up front to the team in the back, everyone is so nice and yet so efficiently on task, it is quite impressive.

    They have reasonable pricing and are willing to help with a payment plan.

    Keep up the great work!!

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    Robert Cassidy
  • We were very pleased with the staff and services at Gorman & Bunch. From the beginning, they were very friendly and made us feel comfortable with our first ortho visit. Dr. Carly was very nice and attentive. We ended up with braces for my son on the first visit and they were quick and thorough and made our experience very positive. Definitely would recommend them! They are awesome!

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    Donia Shackelford

    Excellent every time we’ve brought our kids. Thorough evaluations, knowledgeable doctors/staff, great with kids, and great results

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    Very great place! Went there for my first time today and i felt so comfortable and they are helping me fix my mouth!! Love love love!

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    Love this office! Helpful, professional, and knowledgeable doctor and staff. Haven’t had 1 issue with them. They’ve got their routine down pat.

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  • I just started my first week with the Invisalign. The staff has been extremely friendly and helpful through every step.

    Dr Carly’s initial evaluation of my case was extremely thorough and the options were explained in detail to help make an informed decision.

    They’ve certainly exceeded my expectation and from the looks of it, they do a great job with their younger patients as well!

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    Patrick May

    Amazing experience all around. The staff is super friendly and Dr. Carly always makes my daughter feel comfortable with the work being done. We are thrilled with the progress we are seeing, and the customer service is always top notch.

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    Amazing office! My daughter was home from college and had an orthodontic emergency. She was not a previous patient. Dr Moran was kind enough to see her. The entire staff was amazing. I would never go anywhere else!

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    Sharon Hoover

    Amazing experience all around. The staff is super friendly and Dr. Carly always makes my daughter feel comfortable with the work being done. We are thrilled with the progress we are seeing, and the customer service is always top notch.

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    Ryder man 645 Lozier
  • Amazing experience they all made my daughter and I feel very comfortable, all the ladies were extremely nice. Very well informed. Wouldn't go anywhere else!

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    Erica Wood

    This 64 year old had teeth that had begun to overlap in my adult years, which was attributed to having 4 good teeth removed as a child for "Crowded teeth". I waited to fund Invisalign until incurring no penalty for taking IRA funds, other than taxes. I was fortunate to be referred to Dr. Jason Bunch by my dentist, Dr. Jack Nicewander. Dr. Bunch and his Carmel, IN office staff see numerous children and young adults, but welcome the young at heart as well. I trust them and find them accommodating, efficient, professional and compassionate.

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    Joyce Eggleston

    This is the best place to go! Dr. Carly and her staff have made my daughter's smile beautiful.

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    Heather and Dr Carly were awesome! Friendly, informative, and professional. Office was very inviting. We had a great appointment and look forward to the next couple of years of working with them.

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  • I can’t say enough great things about this office. I am legal guardian of my sister and she is going through Invisalign with them… She’s almost done and I am amazed by the results.
    I also go there for continued orthodontic care because orthodontic retention is for life! So glad I have such great people to care for our teeth!!!

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    Veronica Boyle

    Cannot say enough good things about this practice! I've been to Westfield and Carmel locations, both are beautiful with helpful and friendly staff. Dr Bunch is experienced, knowledgeable, and truly cares about his patients and strives to get the best results possible for each one!

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