What to Expect at Your Initial Orthodontic Consultation
Prepare for Your Orthodontic Consultation
Is it time for you or your kid to visit the orthodontist? Did you already take the first step and schedule your initial consultation? If so, this post is for you!
Making an appointment for the initial consultation is the first step in orthodontic care. The next step is coming to the appointment. Whether it is a visit for you, or for your child, that first appointment may feel a bit daunting.
Getting braces should be an exciting time though! At any age! It’s the first step towards a lifetime of confident smiles. Therefore, we want to make sure that excitement is the prevailing feeling when it comes to getting orthodontic treatment.
To help you get excited, here is a guide on what to expect during your consultation. The consultation experience is the same for all patients.
If you are coming in to learn more about adult braces or Invisalign for yourself, we hope this guide will help you feel prepared and excited about your appointment. If you and your child are coming in to learn more about kids and braces, we encourage you to share this information with your child to help them feel prepared as well.
Why is a Consultation Important?
You may have already made your appointment for a consultation, but you also may still have some questions about why a consultation is important. Moreover, if it is the right time for a consultation.
A common question parents have is, when is the right time to start orthodontic treatment? The answer to this will vary from patient to patient. However, as a general guideline, we encourage parents to bring kids in around age 7 for their first consultation.
This doesn’t mean that every kid will need treatment at age seven. Some kids will not need braces until a later date. Moreover, some kids won’t need orthodontic treatment at all. However, all kids can benefit from a consultation.
As an adult, you may have missed your chance at orthodontic care when you were younger. The great thing is that orthodontic treatments are not just for kids! Adults may need treatment as well. A complimentary consultation is a perfect way for you to learn how to get the smile you dreamed about since you were a kid.
More importantly, a consultation is a time for you or your child to find out if there are any concerns beyond misaligned teeth. Some patients may need treatment for an overbite, underbite, or to adjust the width of the jaws. Not all of these concerns can easily be seen. However, they can be detected by a dental specialist, an orthodontist, during an exam.
Therefore, a consultation at any age helps address these concerns. With young patients, this early detection can help parents plan for potential orthodontic needs in the future.
Who Should You Bring to the Appointment?
Even though there are different reasons for orthodontic care, braces are the number one treatment modality. It is most likely the reason you have decided to visit the orthodontist.
Getting braces is a change, not only for the patient but for their family as well. Especially when the patient is younger. Therefore, here at Reagin Orthodontics, we encourage you to bring the entire family to the initial consultation, so everyone knows what to expect.
Family support isn’t just for the youngins either! We encourage all patients to bring in their family or support team to the consultation. This allows you to share this exciting new journey with the people you love.
What if my Spouse or Partner Can’t Make it?
Even if you are not able to get the whole family into the office, we encourage you to have other decision-makers join virtually. You are welcome to Facetime your spouse or partner or put them on speaker phone during the consultation.
This allows them to hear everything firsthand. It also provides them with the same opportunity to ask questions. Involving everyone in the initial conversation gives all parties involved access to the same information right away. This gets everyone on the same page from the beginning.
Why is it Important to Bring the Whole Family?
Bringing the whole family gives everyone a feel for what orthodontic care entails. This helps parents and siblings support the child who is getting braces. Furthermore, it establishes familiarity with orthodontic treatment for younger siblings who may need braces later.
In addition, this is a great time for everyone in the family to understand the time commitment for braces. On average, treatment will take about 18 months. During this time, the patient will need to visit the orthodontist’s office about every 8 weeks for adjustments.
While this time frame can vary depending on if a patient gets traditional braces or clear aligners, it is a time commitment, so you should feel comfortable with the office team you choose.
This time commitment impacts the whole family. Therefore, it can help everyone to learn about what is involved. Even better, to hear it directly from the orthodontist during the consultation. This provides the whole family with the same information, making it easier to support the patient and each other throughout treatment.
Who Will You Meet with During Your Visit?
The experienced team at Reagin Orthodontics is excited to meet your family and introduce you to ours! Our team is like a family. We work together to help every patient have the best treatment experience – this begins the moment you make the first phone call to our director of first impressions and continues when you walk in the door.
When you arrive, our front desk staff will welcome you. Then they will introduce you to our treatment coordinator. Whether you come to our Summerville office or Cane Bay office, the first thing our treatment coordinator will do is take you & your family on a tour of that office.
As a patient, you (and possibly your child) will spend a lot of time with us and in our office over the course of treatment. Therefore, we want you to be familiar with your orthodontic home.
X-Rays and Oral Exam
After the tour, the treatment coordinator will take you to get x-rays and photos. The x-rays and photos are referred to as your initial records. These initial records are the orthodontist’s first view of your teeth, so smile big for the camera!
Once the records are taken, it’s time to meet your orthodontist, Dr. Reagin! Dr. Reagin will perform an oral exam to identify any orthodontic concerns. To determine the best line of treatment for you or your child, Dr. Reagin will look closely at the records that were taken to evaluate the teeth and jaws.
After he has completed the exam, he and the treatment coordinator will discuss the suggested treatment plan with you.
Review the Suggested Treatment Plan
If Dr. Reagin determines that orthodontic treatment is needed, he will talk to you and your family about what treatment schedule he recommends. This includes discussing different types of treatments, such as braces and clear aligners.
In addition, Dr. Reagin will discuss the different appliances used to support the braces or clear aligners. This may include explaining the purpose of elastics (rubber bands), Herbst appliance, separators, expander, positioner, retainers, separators, and the twin block appliance.
Moreover, during this time Dr. Reagin and our treatment coordinator will answer any questions you may have about the recommended treatment.
Discuss Payment Options
One of the main questions patients (and parents) have is, “how much will treatment cost?”
The cost of treatment varies from patient to patient. It depends on how complex the orthodontic treatment will be and how long treatment will take to achieve the desired result. This is another reason the consultation is so important – it allows us to give you an estimated length of treatment and specific cost for treatment based on the exam.
While orthodontic care is healthcare, it is also an investment. We recognize and know that it is a large investment for most families. Therefore, we have flexible payment options to allow you or your child to enjoy a beautiful smile.
Questions to Ask
Before investing in orthodontic care, we want each patient to have all the information they need to make the best decision for themselves and their family. The first step in that is providing you with what to expect when you visit our office for an initial consultation.
Knowing your orthodontist goes beyond that though. It is important that you and your family feel like the orthodontist you choose (and their office team) is a good fit for you. Therefore, we encourage you to do your own research and ask questions.
Here is a list of questions that are helpful in finding the right fit for you. Dr. Reagin and our treatment coordinator are happy to answer any of these questions, along with any others you may have. Feel free to ask away!
If you choose to get a second consultation from another orthodontist, we encourage you to ask them the same questions. Remember, orthodontic care is a process that takes some time. You want to make sure that whoever you choose as your orthodontist is comfortable with answering your questions, and that you are comfortable asking them.
Questions to Ask During the Initial Consultation
- When you meet an orthodontist for an initial consultation, we strongly recommend consideration of the following:
- What is the practice’s philosophy? Make sure it lines up with what you are looking for.
- What is the orthodontist’s level of experience and how long have they been practicing? What is the team’s experience?
- How long has the longest employee been with the doctor?
- Does the practice have multiple doctors, and will you see the same doctor at each appointment?
- Ask to see before-and-after photos of previous patients. Are the results to your liking?
- How varied and advanced are the treatments offered? Are they up to date on revolutionary new technologies such as temporary mini-screws, translucent aligner scanning (such as Invisalign and Invisalign Teen), and self-ligating brackets?
- Is the orthodontist familiar with the different cutting-edge accelerated treatment options such as AcceleDent, Propel, and Wilckodontics?
- What is the orthodontist’s diagnosis and plan of action for your teeth and how clearly has it been explained to you?
- How practical is the treatment plan in light of your personal, business, and social needs? Did the orthodontist provide information about alternatives?
- What is the office ambiance like? Specifically, are you (or your child) comfortable with the orthodontist’s chair-side manner?
- Is the staff friendly, welcoming, and quick to address your concerns? Since orthodontic treatment takes an average of one and a half to two years, with appointments typically every six to eight weeks, it is important to establish a rapport with all of those who will be providing services.
- Emergencies are unlikely, but just in case, what is the office protocol?
- What are the financing options? Are there multifamily discounts? Paid in full discounts?
- Does the fee for treatment include retainers? Make sure to ask.
- Does the practice focus on educating you (and/or your child) on the care of their braces and/or appliances?
At Reagin Orthodontics we believe that finding an orthodontist you trust is like forming any important relationship in your life. So, while we hope you choose to be a part of our family, we encourage you to do some research, get to know us, ask your friends, and choose the practice that is best for you!