If you are considering braces for yourself or your child, chances are you have a lot of questions. As you head into consultations, we’ve compiled some of the most important questions to ask an orthodontist so that you can be knowledgeable about the treatment process. A little research upfront can eliminate any surprises and help you make the best decision for your convenience and well-being.
What Treatment Option Is Best for Me?
After the orthodontist performs an initial exam and evaluation, they will offer a suggested course of treatment. Ask your orthodontist if they are using the latest, high tech treatment methods. While traditional metal braces are recommended in 80% of cases, other treatment options can achieve a beautiful smile. They usually include:
- Clear (Ceramic) Braces
- Clear Aligners
- Lingual (Hidden) Braces
Each treatment has benefits and potential drawbacks, so be sure to ask about them to determine the best option for you or your child.
What Results Can I Expect?
This is an important question to ask an orthodontist so you can envision results based on different treatment options available. This is also an opportunity to communicate exactly what you want to be addressed. Ask to view photos of similar cases.
How Long Can I Expect Treatment?
After a thorough examination, the orthodontist will be able to provide you with an estimate for your case. While this answer is different for each patient depending on the severity of the case, the average treatment time is two years.
Can I Make Appointments Around School and Work?
During your treatment, orthodontic appointments may be every six weeks. You’ll want to find an orthodontist who has convenient hours and is flexible with your schedule. Your child doesn’t miss school and you don’t have to take time off of work! Be sure to ask about times available, locations, and if virtual appointments are possible for check-ins.
What Do I Have to Do to Get the Best Smile Before Starting?
Teeth and gums need to be healthy before starting orthodontic treatment. Your orthodontist will work with you and your dentist to gain a thorough understanding of your dental history and to evaluate your dental health before starting. In some cases, tooth extraction may be necessary to create space for adequate alignment. As always, you will be needed to be diligent with your brushing and flossing!
Why Shouldn’t I Choose A “Quick-Fix” Option?
Some companies market fast results, sometimes in as little as six months. But the American Association of Orthodontists emphasizes that orthodontic treatment is not a quick fix. Some of these treatments focus only on the first six teeth you generally see when smiling. If the provider’s treatment doesn’t address broader issues associated with alignment, make sure you understand why. Alignment issues include overbite, underbite, crossbite, gaps between teeth, or, crowded teeth. Ask your orthodontic provider if they provide comprehensive orthodontic treatment and to describe the patient experience.
How Much Do Braces Cost?
This is one of the most important questions to ask your orthodontist and it can vary greatly between different practices. The cost may depend on the severity of your case and the length of treatment time. Be sure to understand what is included in the total cost. For example, are visits included? What if your treatment takes longer than expected? Are there fees for broken brackets and missed appointments? It is possible to find an orthodontist who offers affordable, fixed prices.
Also, many insurance plans cover orthodontic treatment. Seek an orthodontist who will work with you to maximize your available coverage. Many orthodontist practices also offer payment plans with low monthly payment options to make treatment more affordable.
Do You Have More Questions to Ask an Orthodontist?
Getting orthodontic treatment is the best investment you can make in yourself or your children, so you want to make sure you have all of your questions answered before moving forward. (Please also review the Parent’s Guide from the American Association of Orthodontists for more information.) Most orthodontists provide a free or low-cost diagnosis and an individualized treatment plan. If you’re ever uncomfortable with a recommendation, it never hurts to get a second or third opinion to understand all of your options.
Orthodontic treatment is all about YOU – your personalized plan and giving you a pleasant, stress-free experience. We hope these questions and answers help you navigate the process of finding the best orthodontist for your situation. At ALTA SMILES, the focus is always on you and your individual needs. We invite you to schedule a free consultation at one of our locations to see the ALTA SMILES difference. Ready to get a healthy smile that will last a lifetime? Contact us today!