Feeling apprehensive about seeking orthodontic treatment is completely normal when you consider you are about to begin a relationship with an orthodontist that will span more than a year. Thankfully, whether your dentist has referred you or you are interested in treatment at Orthodontics Only out of your own interest, there are several ways you can prepare to make your orthodontic consultation enjoyable and a success.
The first and best thing you can do to ensure a successful orthodontic consultation is research, research and research a little more.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
? Abraham Lincoln
Researching the following topics is the first step in preparing for a successful orthodontic consultation.
While having your dentist refer you to an orthodontist can reduce some of the pressure of seeking treatment, there’s a satisfying sense of control and liberation you get when you do the research and make your own decision about whose hands you will place your smile’s fate in.
Here are some qualities to look for in a provider:
- Specialization in orthodontics – If this point seems obvious, you might be surprised to learn that you don’t have to be an orthodontist to provide all forms of orthodontic treatment. Dentists can offer systems like Invisalign without opting for the additional two to three years of training in diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities, which are required to become an orthodontist. All orthodontists are dentists, but only about 6 percent of dentists are orthodontists.
I am not attempting to say a dentist cannot treat a patient successfully with a system like Invisalign. There are likely some dentists who have treated more patients with Invisalign than some orthodontists. However, the point I am actually trying to make is that dentists are limited in the type of treatment that they can provide, and therefore limited to the types of cases they can treat. You may go to a dentist seeking orthodontic treatment and they may determine your needs are more complicated than they feel comfortable treating.
- Board certification – Board certification is elective for orthodontists and historically, only about 25 percent of orthodontists become board certified. Why? Because it’s hard. Board certification demonstrates an orthodontist’s commitment to continued proficiency and excellence in orthodontic and orthopedic treatment.
The American Board of Orthodontics requires an orthodontist to pass a comprehensive written and oral examination proving his proficiency in all areas of orthodontic treatment and present several of his patients’ treatment cases to be evaluated by a clinical examiner to earn board certification and the title of Diplomate of the ABO. Orthodontists must be reevaluated periodically to retain their board certified status.
Find out if your orthodontist is board certified by using the American Board of Orthodontics’ diplomate search tool.
- Location – Keep in mind that you may be visiting your orthodontist as often as once a month for the length of treatment. You’ll also have to get to them quick in an emergency situation. Is their location convenient? How about their hours?
Ever heard the saying, “There is more than one way to skin a cat?” Well, the same goes for aligning teeth. Knowing a little about all of the tools of an orthodontist’s trade and different types of malocclusions will help you feel informed instead of confused during your consultation.
Here, we give a brief overview of the different types of braces we offer at Orthodontics Only, to better inform our patients.
Does your insurance include orthodontic treatment? If so, do you know what it covers? Now is the time to invest in orthodontic insurance or contact your provider and gain a clear understanding of what your insurance package covers.
When You Call
After you’ve done adequate research, it’s time to schedule an appointment with an orthodontist.
Do they take your insurance?
Using an orthodontist who takes your insurance can save you hundreds of dollars.
Are consultations free?
Many orthodontists offer free consultations, but not all. Find out ahead of time so you can be prepared if payment is required.
Do they take their own X-rays?
Some orthodontists can use X-rays taken by a dentist if they are recent enough and the correct type. If this is the case, find out who needs to request the images from your dentist- you or them.
Make an appointment both parents can attend.
Orthodontic treatment is an investment in your child’s smile. It’s best if both parents can attend, since it will help prevent any confusion in the decision-making process that can arise when the spouse who attends the appointment tries to explain the details to the spouse who stayed home.
During your Consultation
A big part of getting the most of your orthodontic consultation is preparing a list of questions ahead of time and taking it with you to your appointment. As easy as it is to forget an item on a grocery list you’ve left at home, it’s far easier to forget a question you wanted to ask an orthodontist at your child’s orthodontic consultation.
Questions to ask during your consultation
Here is a list of questions you may find useful and I would be happy to answer at your initial consultation at Orthodontics Only.
- How long will treatment last (including any needed refinements)?
- Will getting or wearing braces hurt?
- Will my child need a tooth extraction or interproximal reduction?
- Do you foresee any unique obstacles presented by my child’s case?
- What foods will my child have to avoid while wearing braces?
- Will braces interfere with my child playing sports, singing, modeling or playing an instrument?
- How often will he need to come in for checkups?
- How much will braces cost? Will that price include repairs, retainers or emergency visits?
- How will he keep his teeth and braces clean during orthodontic treatment?
- Is he more likely to get cavities while wearing braces?
- Can he wear a mouthguard with braces?
- Do you offer a guarantee?
- Is he a good candidate for Invisalign or Invisalign Teen?
- How does Invisalign compare to wire and bracket braces in regard to price, treatment time and results?
- If I find I have additional questions, will I need to schedule another consultation?
You can always get a second opinion if you are not comfortable with a treatment plan, price or the orthodontist in general.
Call today for your free initial consultation or a second opinion.