So you are ready to explore orthodontic treatment for yourself or your child. How do you decide which orthodontist to see? You may have received recommendations from your dentist, friends and good old google. Once you schedule your appointment, here is what you can typically expect in most orthodontic practices.
At your first visit, you will complete a medical and dental history form. Your orthodontist uses this information to make sure you are not on any medications that can prohibit or slow down tooth movement, as well as make sure you are healthy enough to undergo treatment. Once completed, you will meet a records technician, who will take your records. At minimum, an orthodontic practice will take pictures of your face and teeth; along with a panoramic x-ray. This information allows the orthodontist to evaluate for missing teeth, extra teeth and any pathology present. Most practices will also take a cephalogram at your first visit, which is a side x-ray of your head that shows how your teeth and jaws relate to each other. Some practices will even take a digital scan of your teeth to show you a simulation of how your teeth would look like straight.
Then you meet your friendly orthodontist and he/she will do a clinical exam. The information gathered allows theorthodontist to formulate a treatment plan to align your teeth straight and resolve any bite issues.
Basically, there are four outcomes that can occur from this process.
1. You are ready for orthodontic treatment. Congratulations! Your journey to a great healthy smile begins!
1. You don’t need orthodontic treatment or there is an alternate way to address your concern. Sometimes your dentist can fix a tooth you are concerned about with restorations.
2. You will need treatment, however, you are not ready to start yet. An example would be a child waiting for adult teeth to fully come in.
4. Finally, you need braces but you have to see your dentist to finish filling your cavities or the periodontist address your gum issues. Once completed, then your orthodontic treatment can begin.
Your treatment plan can include braces or Invisalign, along with a whole spectrum of appliances to correct several different problems. Lastly, a fee will be given to you with a payment plan to be paid over the estimated treatment time or sometimes even extended further. Most consultations are free and are necessary to find out the type of treatment needed, cost and length of time in treatment to get the beautiful smile you deserve.