Every child’s smile is as unique as they are and deserves nothing less than the best dental and orthodontic care. If you’ve been considering orthodontic treatment for your child, it’s important to find an expert with the education, skills, and training to meet their specific needs. With so many potential providers available, you may not be sure where to begin, but we’re here to help! At Mountain West Dental Specialists, we want every family to feel informed and educated about each step of the treatment process. With that in mind, let’s look at the top questions you’ll want to ask before choosing an orthodontist for your child!
Is the doctor a trained orthodontic specialist?
It may seem like the answer to this question would be obvious, but it’s still one worth asking! While many dental practices now offer some form of orthodontic care in addition to their regular services, a trained orthodontist like Dr. Allison Tomlin has had many years of specialized training and education on top of what is taught in dental school. That means an orthodontist has:
- studied the growth and maturation of the teeth and jaw
- been introduced to numerous case studies
- developed specific diagnostic skills
- learned biomechanical techniques to properly move teeth
- studied how to change the development of the dental alveolar complex and positively influence the facial growth of younger patients
Orthodontic residency programs tend to be extremely competitive and will generally accept only the top students in any dental school graduating class. They include 2-3 years of intense full-time training on how to successfully identify and correct a range of orthodontic issues. While there are exceptions to every rule, most general dentists won’t possess this high level of training and expertise.
Put simply, there is a lot of hard work and dedication that goes into becoming an orthodontist! Dr. Allison Tomlin is a perfect example of this. She attended the University of San Diego and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with honors, as well as minor degrees in both Biology and Chemistry. She then acquired a Master of Arts in Biomedical Sciences with honors at Midwestern University in Arizona. Following this, Dr. Allison entered dental school at the University of Las Vegas, where she earned a Doctorate of Dental Medicine Degree with high honors in the top ten percent of her class.
Following the completion of dental school, Dr. Allison continued her dental education by completing an Orthodontic Residency Program at the University of Las Vegas, earning a Master’s degree in Oral Biology and a Certificate in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. In addition to all her basic dental and orthodontic specialty training, Dr. Allison has achieved the following additional clinical training and certifications:
- Invisalign Certified
- Clear Correct Certified
- Neuromodulators Certified (Botox)
- Esthetic Fillers Certified
- Laser Certified
- Self-Ligating Appliances (Damon)
- Direct and Indirect Bonding
- CBCT Analysis
- Early Interceptive Treatment
- Multi-dis and Craniofacial Patient Treatment
Our sole focus here at MWDS is providing patients with the highest quality orthodontic care and treatment. Dr. Allison forms teeth straightening procedures almost every day, and the entire team participates in various continuing education courses throughout the year. Your child’s smile will be in the very best hands when you choose our practice!
What treatment options does the orthodontist offer?
As we mentioned above, every smile is unique. A treatment that works for one patient may not be a good fit for another, which is why Dr. Allison creates personalized treatment plans for every patient. Your child’s custom plan will be built around their specific needs, goals, and lifestyle. It will also include a recommendation for the most appropriate treatment for their smile. We offer patients of all ages the following options from our Las Vegas office.
Today’s metal braces have come a long way from previous designs. The brackets are much smaller and no longer wrap around the entire tooth, while thinner archwires are used to move the teeth with comfort and speed. Metal braces are a cost-effective option with a long track record of successfully treating a range of cases, from simple to complex. Kids can even insert a pop of personality into their smile journey by choosing fun colors for their elastic bands!
Clear braces are the same shape and size as metal braces but use transparent or tooth-colored brackets to blend in better with the patient’s natural smile. When paired with clear, white, or tooth-colored elastics, they provide an extremely discreet way to straighten smiles! While the ceramic brackets are durable, they do tend to be a bit more prone to breakage than metal brackets. For this reason, we usually recommend them for our teen and adult patients only.
Instead of brackets and wires, the Invisalign system uses a series of clear removable aligners to move the teeth. These are made from a special thermoplastic resin that’s comfortable and customized to fit snugly over the teeth. Because they’re removable, clear aligners offer patients a bit more freedom than braces throughout the treatment process. They’ll also allow your child to brush, floss, and eat as they normally would! Aligners can often be just as effective as braces when patients are fully compliant and wear the aligners exactly as directed.
How frequent are follow-up visits with the orthodontist?
The orthodontic process includes regularly scheduled follow-up visits, so you can expect to see us every 6-8 weeks or so throughout the treatment process. During these visits, Dr. Allison will ensure everything is progressing as it should be, make any necessary adjustments, and replace worn-out elastics if your child is wearing braces. She may choose to change the wire at this time as well.
Every patient responds to treatment in their own way, so the total time in braces or clear aligners will always vary from case to case. In general, however, the average treatment time is anywhere from 12-24 months in total. Checkups are an essential part of the treatment process, so you should do your best to keep these appointments as scheduled! Since your child will be seeing the orthodontist regularly over this period of time, it’s important to choose a doctor and practice you both feel comfortable with.
Find your child’s best smile at Mountain West Dental Specialists
The MWDS team works hard to provide our young patients with compassionate care and a rewarding orthodontic experience, from start to finish. If you’re ready to learn more about how we can transform your child’s smile, get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Allison!