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Joining Our Practice: Youths

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First Steps
Whether your child requires evaluation for interceptive treatment or a full orthodontic appliance (please see Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics: What is it and when to first visit a specialist) your first step is an initial examination and consultation with Dr. Wong. These appointments may be scheduled most readily by contacting our office by telephone, 206-812-4494. Upon arrival for this appointment, you will be provided with brief history and insurance form, which will assist us, if applicable, in researching for you the insurance coverage to which you are entitled.

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The Initial Examination: What to Expect and Who Should Attend
The initial examination and consultation is a complementary service provided for your child during which diagnostic records, including photo- and radiographs, will be taken and a thorough examination by Dr. Wong of your child’s dentition and facial structure will be conducted. Following examination, Dr. Wong will present for your consideration his initial diagnosis and treatment plan. The treatment coordinator will review this treatment plan with you and aid you in assessing the need for a second consultation with Dr. Wong. (Dr. Wong is pleased to provide an additional consultation in such cases that are complex and/or involve multiple or extended family participation.) The treatment coordinator will also review all financial questions, including insurance coverage, prior to your departure.

We encourage the attendance of all adults who will be involved in the decision-making and financial aspects of your child’s treatment. It is important to us that you and your family are, and remain, well informed and comfortable with the plan of treatment, both prior to initiation of that treatment and throughout the treatment phase. Should you choose to initiate treatment for your child, you will, at each appointment, be kept abreast of all procedures that have and will be performed, and the overall progress made toward treatment goals.

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Communicating with Dr. Wong
In our practice a priority is placed upon keeping open the lines of communication. In the course of treatment, should you desire to speak with Dr. Wong about your child or your child’s treatment, or should you wish to review your financial arrangements or any other matter, you need only contact your treatment coordinator. During the initial examination and consultation, the treatment coordinator will describe her role in your child’s treatment and provide contact information that you may utilize throughout the treatment process. She will be available to assist you directly and, should the need arise, ensure that you are able to speak with Dr. Wong at a time of mutual convenience. You will find that Dr. Wong is happy to assist you whenever possible, and truly enjoys being of service!

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Typical Treatment Parameters for Children and Teens
One of the most obvious orthodontic considerations for children relates to the process of losing primary (“baby”) teeth and developing the permanent dentition. During this transition, early intervention of such issues as ectopic (wrong location) eruption of permanent teeth, premature loss of primary teeth, supernumery (extra) teeth, or congenitally missing teeth can allow significant alignment problems to be avoided. This is one reason that the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children be checked orthodontically by age 7.

Another consideration for children is the development of sense of self and self-esteem. As a child ages, passing through the various stages of social development, issues of physical appearance may be very significant in his or her quality of life. We are very sensitive to the factors that affect your child’s well-being and provide a positive, compassionate environment so that he or she may experience the joy of transformation, not only of a smile, but of his or herself!

Finally, a significant consideration for most children and teens is growth. In many cases, this is a crucial factor in planning treatment and attaining treatment goals. For the majority, the lower jaw (mandible) grows at a later date than the upper jaw (maxilla), and in a downward and forward direction. Orthodontists can utilize and enhance, or retard, this growth pattern to correct what would otherwise result in an overjet (“overbite”) or underjet (protruding mandible). Vertical facial growth occurs, as well, and is an important factor in the correction of the deep bite (excessive coverage of lower incisors by upper incisors) and the open bite (vertical space between upper and lower incisors). In contrast, the correction for non-growing individuals with significant skeletal discrepancies is generally surgical repositioning of bones in conjunction with orthodontics.

The skeletal component of the misalignment of teeth (malocclusion) can be subtle or striking. The timing of the utilization of facial growth in orthodontic and orthopedic correction is crucial in many cases. For these reasons among others, it is very important that an experienced orthodontic specialist plan and carry out treatment. Dr. Wong encourages you to consult a qualified orthodontist, even if it is to be another practitioner, for your child’s care. (Of course, the skill and experience of Dr. Wong and staff are always available to you!)

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We are very conscious of the busy schedule of today’s family, and the desire of parents to minimize the hours of missed schooling. Therefore, we strive to provide out-of-school appointments whenever possible; employing optimal staff utilization and clinic capacity to efficiently provide the highest quality of personalized care in the afterschool hours.

Due to length and complexity of some procedures, such as the placement or removal of braces, certain appointments, however, are scheduled for the morning. Your treatment coordinator will describe the scheduling process during the initial examination and consultation, and will be available throughout the treatment process to assist you should any special circumstances arise regarding the scheduling of appointments.

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It is our intention to serve you and your child with the highest quality of orthodontic care, and to make that care affordable by providing a variety of financing structures to meet your specific needs. Director of Services and Treatment Coordinator Diane Stoffer will explain thoroughly the available financing plans and answer your questions regarding methods and timing of payment. Diane will also be available throughout the course of treatment to discuss financial questions and considerations.

In addition to personal financing plans, we are pleased to work with third-party healthcare finance sources such as Carecredit. Also, many insurance policies provide a lifetime orthodontic benefit that is distinct from regular dental insurance. Because insurance policies vary, our Business and Regulatory Manager, Christine O’Dowd, will research the orthodontic coverage of your insurance plan and, once treatment begins, file claims on your behalf.

Finally, one very helpful resource for many patients is the Flexible Spending Account. A Flexible Spending Account (FSA), also called a flex plan or medical reimbursement account, is an employer-sponsored benefit that allows you to pay for eligible medical expenses on a pre-tax basis; reducing your federal tax obligation. Please ask your benefits administrator if your employer offers Flexible Spending Accounts; and, if so, how your plan reimburses for orthodontics, and when your funds would be available to you following account deposit.

For your convenience, we are happy to offer online services through our state-of-the-art cloud technology; Ortho2. With the simple click of a mouse, or tap of your smartphone, our secure, twenty four hour online service allows you to view your account information, check your payment history, and see current charges.

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Please contact our office, 206-812-4494, if we may provide additional information, or if you would like to schedule a complimentary initial examination and consultation with Dr. Wong.

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