Yulee, FL – Taking the plunge into orthodontic treatment is a big step in ensuring a lifetime of good oral health. Orthodontic treatment doesn’t only create smiles that are more beautiful, it creates smiles that are also healthier. If you have decided that it’s time for orthodontic treatment, whether, for yourself or your child, you may wonder how the process starts. What exactly will happen when you go to your first consultation?
Initial consultations are designed to be educational both for the patient and the orthodontist. They are quick and easy appointments that help you and the orthodontist understand what issues may be impacting your smile and determine which treatment options may be best to meet your smile goals. This consultation also provides you an opportunity to get to know the orthodontist and the staff to make sure it’s a good fit for your family.
The first thing that your orthodontic team will do at your consultation is to gather some medical and dental history. This information is important so that the orthodontist understands any dental issues or health problems you may be facing that could potentially impact orthodontic results.
After this information is gathered, it will be time to get some images of your mouth. We typically take X-rays as well as digital images so that we can get the most thorough idea of what is happening with your smile. We can see what may be happening below the surface that could be causing problems. This is especially important for our younger patients who still have permanent teeth waiting to erupt. We can see their placement and predict where they will erupt, allowing us to understand if this will cause any future issues. X-rays can also help us determine if the bone tissue is healthy enough to undergo orthodontic treatment.
The Yulee orthodontist will also perform an oral examination. This allows us to see if there are any issues that might not have been present in your dental history – this is especially important for older patients who may have signs of gum disease that could potentially impact the stability of end results. And for younger children, it allows the orthodontist the chance to see how the smile is taking shape, as baby teeth fall out and permanent teeth are replacing them.
Once images are taken and the oral exam is completed, the orthodontist can formulate a treatment plan and discuss the treatment options that we believe are the best to meet your smile goals. For some patients, this can include taking care of current dental issues we see present prior to beginning orthodontic treatment.
The treatment plan will explain what you can expect from the treatment, including a timeline for how long we anticipate treatment taking. It is important to note that this will only be an estimate, as we cannot provide an exact timeline because we cannot anticipate how your smile will respond to treatment.
One of the most important parts of your consultation is the question-and-answer time. Once your orthodontist has gone over the treatment plan with you, you should be given time to ask questions or have any concerns you may have addressed. This gives you the opportunity to better understand why the orthodontist is recommending one treatment over another (for example, you may have gone into your consultation wishing to use Invisalign, but your orthodontist is recommending traditional braces – use this time to learn more about why that may be the best option for you). This can also help you feel more comfortable with the orthodontist and his staff and determine if you want to move forward with treatment at that office.
A member of the orthodontic office’s financial team should also go over costs, insurance, and payment information with you. The financial coordinator should review your insurance information, and then discuss your financial obligations with you. This should include payment plans or financing options.
Once these steps have been completed, the next step lies with you – you make the decision whether to proceed with treatment. If you are ready to move forward, your next appointment can be scheduled before you leave. Some patients need a bit more time to make a decision, so don’t be afraid to ask for the time to think over the information you’ve been provided so you can make the best decision for you.