Orthodontic treatment is only effective if patients follow their treatment plans. Patients must develop solid habits outside the orthodontic office once braces are on. Many young patients find this challenging – especially at first. NOVA Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics uses a patient rewards program to encourage and reward patients for complying with the responsibilities of orthodontic treatment. With plenty of accolades and lots of fun prizes, we help patients successfully care for orthodontia at home.
We assist our patients (and their parents) in developing good habits by teaching them:
- Good Oral Hygiene – Our orthodontic patients know that braces tend to trap food; this makes everyday dental care even more challenging and time consuming. During orthodontic treatment, patients are more susceptible to tartar build-up, demineralization, and swollen gums. A solid brushing and flossing routine can eliminate these potential problems.
- Proper Care for Braces – Braces are a significant investment for families, so it is essential for patients to take care of their hardware. The brackets of the braces (i.e., the square metal pieces bonded to the teeth) can break off if patients are not careful. Patients can protect their braces by:
- Eating the right foods and staying away from the wrong ones (e.g. anything too crunchy, hard, sticky, or chewy is off limits)
- Breaking the habit of chewing on non-food objects (like pencils)
- Wearing mouth guards (and being a little extra cautious) during sports activities
- The Basics of Wearing Rubber Bands – Removable rubber bands are an important part of orthodontic treatment for many patients, and they require a commitment from both patients and their families. Rubber bands help adjust the jaw position. They are worn most of the time, but should be removed at meals and while brushing. This means that patients need to get into the habit of taking them on and off – by hand or using a special hook. It’s not difficult, but there’s definitely a learning curve. The more patients wear their rubber bands as instructed, the faster the braces come off.
- The Importance of Keeping Up with Adjustment Appointments – Keeping up with regularly scheduled orthodontic adjustment appointments is key to effective orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists need to know of any changes or issues, and make regular adjustments to a patient’s braces. If the patient is an older tween or teen, we encourage him or her to be involved with scheduling by adding reminders to electronic devices. We also try to work with teens to arrange appointments during less busy times in their school schedules.
Orthodontic Incentives at NOVA Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics
Good habits are vital to successful orthodontic treatment – and positive reinforcement can help young patients build them. Last year, we launched the very successful NOVA Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics Patient Rewards Hub. This unique program invites patients to be responsible and become active partners in their orthodontic care.
Each of our orthodontics patients gets a personalized rewards card similar to a grocery store bonus card. They earn points at each visit for accomplishments like:
- Coming to appointments on time
- Brushing when they arrive at the office
- Keeping brackets intact
- Practicing good oral hygiene (yes, we can tell)
- Wearing rubber bands as instructed
- Wearing their practice t-shirt to their appointment
Patients swipe their cards at each visit and can earn points to be redeemed for gift cards ranging from $5 to $20 at fun merchants. Our patients can also log onto our website from home using their Patient Rewards ID and play educational games designed to reinforce positive orthodontic care practices. NOVA Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics patients absolutely love the program and we believe that it has encouraged them to develop responsibility and better oral habits.
Give Your Child a Stake in Their Orthodontic Care
It is imperative for children to be active players in their orthodontic care. Kids must realize that healthy habits have long-term effects when it comes their orthodontic treatments. We realize, though, that long-term thinking is not necessarily a strong suit of teens and tweens. That’s why we adopted NOVA’s Patient Rewards Hub. Sometimes a little instant gratification is all it takes to inspire good oral habits, and we know the positive behaviors our patients develop will lead to successful treatment outcomes.