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What Questions to Ask at Your Orthodontic Consultation

Orthodontic consultation

Starting orthodontic treatment can be a big decision, both financially and personally.  Most orthodontic treatments can range from anywhere from a few months to a few years.  Not only will you or your child be in treatment for this time period, but you will also be visiting the same office many times over the course of treatment.   Most of all, you want to make sure you are comfortable with both the office as well as the orthodontist.  Today I compiled a list of some of the questions you should ask during the orthodontic consultation (for both braces and clear aligners like Invisalign).


What doctor will I see?


There are many types of orthodontic offices.  Some offices (like ours) only have one doctor that you will see every visit.  Other offices may have several orthodontists.  Sometimes the orthodontists rotate and you will see all the orthodontists over your treatment.  Other times a specific orthodontist is assigned to a specific office or patient.  Some orthodontists work out of group practices with other dentists or dental specialists.  It is helpful to know who you will see at your appointments.


What team will I see?


Just like some office have multiple orthodontists, some offices also have different teams for each location or each doctor.  You will get to know many of the team members during your time in braces or Invisalign so find out who you will see during your visits. It is always nice to have a familiar face at your appointments.


What are the doctor’s credentials?


Not all doctors that offer braces or Invisalign have advanced or formal training in orthodontics.  Orthodontists spend an additional 2-3 years after dental school specializing in orthodontics.  They will have an additional degree from this training.  Also, most orthodontists limit their practice to orthodontics.  You will not find an orthodontist filling cavities or doing root canals.  They devote 100% of their time to correcting bites and smiles.


What is included in the treatment cost?


Make sure to ask what is included on the treatment fees that you are given at your orthodontic consultation.  Some orthodontists include things like x-rays and retainers in treatment fees.  Others may charge separately for different aspects of treatment.  You want to make sure you know exactly what to expect for your or your child’s specific treatment.  Orthodontic treatment is an investment and you want to understand the details of that investment.


Are there payment plans or financing options?


Orthodontic treatment is an investment in your bite and your smile.  Make sure to find out what financing options an office can offer.  Most offices can work with a wide range of budgets to make treatment attainable for most budgets.  For other tips on making braces and Invisalign more affordable, check out our previous blog post.


What age range do you treat? What treatment options do you offer?


Most orthodontists treat children from age 7 to adults of any age.  Some offices primarily see adults and others many only see kids and teens (especially if they are located in a pediatric dentist office).   Different orthodontist offer different treatment modalities (like clear braces or Invisalign).  Most importantly, you should look for an office where you (or your children) feel comfortable.  Like I mentioned above, you will have several visits after the initial orthodontic consultation.


Do you offer a family discount?


If you have a family with more than one child or if you are thinking of orthodontic treatment for multiple family members, ask if an office has a family discount.    These family discounts can help make treatment more affordable for treating multiple children over time.


This list of questions could go on and on, but just know that your choice of which orthodontist to see should be based on more than just price shopping.  You will develop a relationship with both the doctor and the team in each office over the treatment time.  Most of all, you want to make sure to find the right fit for you and your family!

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