Orthodontic Consultation

If your child needs braces, chances are good that you are seeking out recommendations and reviews for the best orthodontist on your area. But once you find an orthodontic office, it’s important to ask several questions to be sure the office will be the right fit for you.

  1. What is the orthodontist’s background? It’s important that you are seeing an actual orthodontist, and not a general dentist who also performs some orthodontic work. This is an important distinction because while every orthodontist is also a dentist, not every dentist is also an orthodontist. An orthodontist dedicated additional time after graduating dental school to participate in an accredited orthodontic specialty program to learn all of the ins and outs of how teeth move.
  2. What orthodontic treatment do you suggest and why? There are a lot of treatment options available today, so be sure your orthodontist explains fully which he or she thinks is best for you and why.
  3. Are there other treatment options that I could consider? Your orthodontist may recommend a certain treatment that he or she believes will provide the best results for you and your situation. However, there may be other options that can also provide good results, as well. Likewise, your orthodontist may think you should avoid certain treatments, based on the severity of your malocclusion or other factors.
  4. What are the pros and cons to the treatment you are recommending? Every type of orthodontic treatment has positives and negatives, and it is important to get an understanding of these before you begin treatment. For example, standard metal braces are the most reliable and efficient – both in moving teeth and on your budget. But, they are the most noticeable and require you to avoid certain types of foods during treatment. On the flip side, Invisalign is the least noticeable and since it is removable you don’t have to worry about changing your diet, but it has the highest degree of patient cooperation since the patient has to remember to wear the aligners 22 hours a day.
  5. Can I see before and after photos of actual patients who have received treatment? This is important to help you get an idea of the types of results the orthodontist is able to achieve. While every mouth is different and will respond to treatment differently, seeing before and after photos can help you understand the skill of the orthodontist.
  6. What changes will I need to be prepared for? Orthodontic treatment is a big commitment, and requires patients to make some changes to their lives. If you wear metal braces, you’ll need to avoid certain types of foods. If you wear Invisalign, you have to remember to wear the aligners. For every patient, you’ll need to remember to brush and floss frequently, maintain all check-ups with your dentist and orthodontist, and follow all of your orthodontist’s instructions.
  7. How much will treatment cost? Be sure before you commit to treatment that you get a complete quote that includes the cost of everything needed for your treatment. If you damage your braces or lose an aligner, will those costs be extra?
  8. How can I pay for treatment? This is an important question ensure that you can meet your financial obligations as easily as possible. Be sure the orthodontic office accepts your dental insurance, if you have it. Ask for payment plan options, or financing if you need it.
  9. How long will treatment take? Your orthodontist will not be able to give you an exact date your braces will come off, but can give you a range, based on experience. The exact length of your treatment will depend on how well your teeth respond to treatment, how compliant you are in following instructions (for example, forgetting to wear your rubber bands, if indicated during your treatment, may extend your treatment time), and the health of your mouth, among other factors.
  10. How often will follow-up appointments be scheduled and are there convenient appointment times available? Get an idea of how often you’ll need to visit the orthodontist for check-ups, and be sure you can fit these appointments in with school, work or other activities.