Blog Post

What is an Observation Patient


Did you know that we have patients that aren’t currently wearing braces or other orthodontic appliances? That’s right. Just because a patient isn’t receiving orthodontic treatments, doesn’t mean that we don’t need to still see them in the office periodically. These patients are called observation patients. Because, well… they need to be observed, but not necessarily treated right now.

Before Treatment

In addition to moving teeth, a big part of orthodontic treatment is understanding how an individual patient’s teeth are developing – especially when the patient is a child. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child first see an orthodontist by the age of 7. The reasoning behind that young age is so that Dr. Jolley can understand your child’s unique orthodontic needs and growth pattern. But many times, children aren’t quite ready to start treatment so young. Before a patient is ready to start treatment, they qualify as an observation patient. We may ask that they come in periodically so that their growth and oral development can be observed until it’s time to start treatment.

Between Treatment

Sometimes, a patient needs to wear braces or an orthodontic appliance more than once. This is called phased treatment. Generally, phased treatment is used in kids whose permanent teeth haven’t all erupted yet. The time in between the two treatment is called the resting period. During the resting period, a child will once again be considered an observation patient. We will more than likely need them to come in for check-ups to monitor the growth of permanent teeth and observe and growth to the mouth or jaw.

See Your Smiles

So, whether your child is not quite ready for braces or if they’re in between orthodontic treatments, we still want to see their smiling faces in our office! Observation patients may not seem like they’re receiving orthodontic treatment, but this period is very important. By monitoring growth, we can ensure your child will have a beautiful lifelong smile!