Amelia Grace, 15, and Allison, 12, are sisters who share an uncommon excitement about braces. Amelia Grace has metal braces currently and loves the way they feel “tight” on her teeth. Allison doesn’t have braces yet but can’t wait to get them. Both girls are patients with Newport News orthodontist Dr. Swihart and recently sat down with their mom, Leslie, to tell us all about their experience.
Individual Care for Individuals
Amelia Grace has a rare, progressive genetic disease called Mitochondrial Disease, which causes a constellation of symptoms and syndromes. It has shaped her life in many ways, restricting the amount of physical activity she can do, making it difficult for her to chew and swallow, and causing hearing loss, among other challenges.
For better or worse, Amelia Grace’s parents have become quite savvy at identifying and choosing her health care providers. The family, who is stationed with the US military in Norfolk, just returned from a trip to Colorado to see her audiologist. They take good care that seriously. When the family set out to find an orthodontist for the girls, they knew what to look for: a doctor who treats Alison and Amelia Grace as people, not as cases or problems to solve, and not as children with no agency.
Choosing a Newport News Orthodontist
They tried two other orthodontists before finding Swihart Orthodontics in Newport News, and Leslie sensed some hesitance on their parts to treat Amelia Grace, who also has a condition called osteopenia, which causes bone loss. It seemed to her that they were concerned Amelia Grace’s special needs would cause her not to fit into their regimented treatment timelines.
Newport News orthodontist Dr. Swihart, on the other hand, said, “We’ll just go at her pace.” The extra time Amelia Grace needs to get up out of the treatment chair slowly so that she doesn’t faint, her orthodontic treatment itself possibly taking longer than other children’s—these concerns were not concerns at all for Dr. Swihart. But what really won Leslie over was seeing how comfortable her daughters were at Dr. Swihart’s office immediately, despite Amelia Grace having been nervous prior to the visit.
Orthodontic Care that Cares
Heidi is Amelia Grace’s favorite assistant, and so the staff has made sure Heidi works with her each time she’s there. When her gums got a little inflamed after surgery, Leslie called the office, and Cindy calmly reassured her and walked her through what to do. And, the staff took the time to carefully explain everything to Amelia Grace in a way that was mindful of her hearing impairment.
Options for Treatment
When it came down to treatment, Dr. Swihart offered two choices, and they were able to decide as a family which course was best for her. Having this agency meant everything to Amelia Grace and Leslie, since there is so much she doesn’t get to choose about her health.
And, this girl loves to choose the colors of her elastic ligatures, most recently having chosen light green to represent watermelons and light pink for flowers. Leslie tells us a lot of thought goes into this choice leading up to each joyfully anticipated visit. In a world that feels like everyone telling her what she can and can’t do, Amelia Grace relishes the freedom to make this choice.
Amelia Grace’s Best Outcome
Dysphagia is another symptom that affects Amelia Grace’s day-to-day life, and it makes chewing and swallowing difficult for her. She and her family are hopeful that, in addition to a healthy smile, her braces will align her teeth so that when they come off in about a year, chewing will be much easier.
Allison Can’t Wait to Get Hers
Little sister Allison, who loves to play soccer with her dog, jump on the trampoline, and go swimming, reports that her first colors when she finally gets her braces will be pink and silver, her two favorite colors. Allison doesn’t face any of the complications with treatment that her sister is up against; but she hasn’t received braces yet, as she isn’t quite ready for them. Dr. Swihart’s team has her in a “watch” phase.
Allison tells us she doesn’t like the arrangement of her front teeth and is equally looking forward to both having braces and sporting the straight teeth she’ll have as a result. A highly perceptive and patient kid, Alison points out that, “No little detail [to Dr. Swihart and her staff] was insignificant.” Like Amelia Grace, Alison has felt safe and comfortable there since day one.
The Swihart Difference
The agency, choice, and consideration that the whole family has experienced with Swihart Orthodontics has meant so much to them. Leslie is heartfelt and sincerely grateful as she contrasts their Swihart Orthodontics experience with the countless bad or so-so healthcare encounters they’ve had. The quality of care with Dr. Swihart stands out to them especially under these circumstances. And they corroborate what we hear from so many other patients: They feel seen as the individuals they are and treated with dignity and respect, their desires heard and understood.
Leslie has been sharing this gratitude with everybody she knows lately, recommending Newport News orthodontist Dr. Swihart to anyone and everyone. She and her husband have discussed the very real scenario of what they’ll do about the girls’ orthodontic care if he is stationed elsewhere. They’ve concluded that they’ll likely fly back to Virginia for visits with Dr. Swihart rather than find a different orthodontist, because they appreciate great care that much.
Swihart Orthodontics in Newport News and Gloucester, VA is accepting new patients. If you’d like to talk with us about metal braces for your child or yourself, reach out to book a consultation today!