In Germany patients presenting their child for orthodontic consultation often are told about severe orthodontic findings which – of course – are in need of treatment immediately. Immediate treatment need is obviously independent oft he children‘s age, as there is a widespread tendency to treat even basic-school children in German orthodontics. Likewise adults interested only in aesthetic correction of front teeth often are confronted by orthodontists to have severe jaw deviations in need of surgical correction. The confusion often gets even worse when another opinion is asked for: orthodontist 1 wants to extract 4 teeth, orthodontist 2 recommends surgical replacement oft he lower jaw, and orthodontist 3 threatens your child with a year-long treatment including a headgear with neckstrap, eventually again a surgical procedure – all these perspective enough to see a child in tears.
In our offices we do not trust in the concepts we accidentally learned during our professional training. Instead, we rely since 30 years on the intense study of the scientific literature. Therefore we are subscriber to virtually all important ortodontic journals, of course including those in English language, the lingua franca of today’s science. Such a broad base of knowledge may be present in some oft he better university departments of orthodontics in Germany, but in orthodontic offices this is absolutely uncommon. Thus we are able to deliver qualified second opinions free of accidental prejudices and personal beliefs.
With this background it is no surprise that patients with a recommendation of a doomsday-therapy leave our office not rarely with the friendly advice to initiate orthodontic treatment only in case of a personal desire to improve tooth position. Likewise we often give relief to concerned parents, as in most cases orthodontic findings do neither constitute a disease nor promote any disease. For this reason the decision process for orthodontic treeatment should normally be quite relaxed.
Our procedure for second opinions is highly standardized. We explain the orthodontic findings to our patients, followed by a presentation of treatment options and a brief discussion of risks and uncertainties of tretament vs. non-treatment. We abstain from excerting any pressure to patients seeking our advice, because orthodontics is the reign of freedom, not the reign of essential necessity.