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Visiting an orthodontist for the very first time can bring up many questions. Many new orthodontia patients like to know in advance what to expect during their initial consultation. This is entirely to be expected. In fact, the more you know about what to expect during your first visit, the better prepared you can be. In this post, learn what to expect when you have your very first orthodontics appointment.
What is an Orthodontist?
In short, orthodontia is a highly specialized profession within the greater field of dental medicine. An orthodontist has had additional training and education beyond earning a general dental medicine degree. This additional training can take from two to four full years depending on the degree sought.
Orthodontists specialize in correcting issues related to positioning of the teeth and jaws and correction of bite alignment issues. As such, orthodontists have a range of tools at their disposal, from traditional metal braces to invisible braces, back-of-the-teeth braces and special aligners (similar to retainers) that are removable.
How to Prepare for Your First Appointment
Typically you will be referred for orthodontic treatment based on a series of signs that indicate braces may be needed. These signs can include symptoms like jaw pain, difficulty chewing, visible tooth issues like an overbite or underbite and other symptoms. So you probably have some idea why you are having a consultation for orthodontic treatment and this is a great place to start.
But your specialist will also want to see a complete history of your prior dental work, including x-ray scans if available. And you should arrive prepared to review your personal and family medical history in this area.
Here are some ways you can prepare: You can…
- Call your referring dental office and ask that your file be sent over.
- Write down a list of questions or concerns that you may have.
- Write down important details about prior dental issues.
- List out any symptoms you are having now, such as pain or headaches.
- Think about your goals for orthodontic treatment, including the smile you would like to have when your treatment is over.
- Make any arrangements with your insurance as applicable.
What to Expect During Your Consultation
It is always a good idea to arrive at the office 10-20 minutes early so you can complete any forms that are required for new patient exams (if you have time, call ahead and see if you can fill out these forms by email or print them and bring them with you to your appointment).
Your orthodontic consultation is a time to ask your questions and share your goals for seeking treatment. Your specialist will also want to ask questions and take x-rays to get a picture of what is going on in your mouth. You can expect to have a full basic exam so your specialist can get familiar with your mouth, teeth and jaw issues.
By the time you leave, you should have an outline of a proposed treatment plan to correct any bite, jaw, teeth or pain issues you are experiencing. Your orthodontic professional should also give you a sense of how long your treatment might take and what the post-treatment care plan will include.
Treatment Options from an Orthodontist
Gone are the days when your only treatment options for a straighter, healthier smile were old school metal braces. In fact, today’s metal braces are so unobtrusive and small that they bear little resemblance to their ancestors.
But in addition to metal braces, you can also choose invisible ceramic braces or a system of aligners (like retainers) called Invisalign that is fully removable. There are so many more treatment options today that having orthodontic treatment is not the burden it once was.
Keys to Ensuring a Good Treatment Outcome
During your initial consultation, your specialist will likely also review the basics of good oral and dental hygiene and care. This will become especially important once you begin your treatment plan and will continue to be very important into your post-treatment care plan and beyond.
Not only will you need to learn how to care for your braces or aligners. But you will need to learn to care for your teeth, gums and mouth after your treatment concludes so you can maintain the new smile you have achieved. You will get a care sheet for each phase of your treatment so you know exactly what to do as well as what not to do to achieve the best possible results.
Individualized Care Plans for Each Patient
One thing that is critical to understand about orthodontic care is that no two mouths are ever alike. So even if lots of other people you know have had braces or aligners. Your orthodontic care plan will be unique to you. This includes the length of time your treatment takes, the specifics of your post-treatment care plan, the types of maintenance retainers you receive and the oral hygiene directions you follow.
So, for instance, if you are instructed to wear your mouth guards a certain number of hours per day for a certain number of weeks or months following treatment. This relates directly to the work done to achieve your specific smile results. Only by following your care plan to the letter can you gain full value from the treatment received.
Contact King Orthodontics Today
At King Orthodontics, a board-certified orthodontist provides orthodontic care for the whole family. Also, we provide all of our patients with the iBracesHelpApp as a part of our comprehensive treatment and care plan.
We invite you to schedule your initial consultation at either of our convenient locations in Centerville or Fairborn. Call us at (937)433-0830 or visit us online at any time to schedule a consultation with Dr. King.
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What to Expect When Seeing an Orthodontist
I love orthodontics. I love the challenge of creating healthy and beautiful smiles. I love the people I get to meet and interact with on a daily basis. I love taking care of my patients and giving them a smile they can be proud about.