21 Must Ask Questions For Your Braces Consultation
Don’t leave your braces consultation without asking these important questions!
Have you recently booked a consultation with an orthodontist? If you answered yes, then your next step is to prepare yourself for the initial orthodontic consultation.
A braces consultation is the first step in the journey towards a beautiful smile and perfect bite! During the initial ortho consultation you will be given lots of information. You will hear from your Orthodontist, Treatment Coordinator and Financial Coordinator. And you may have questions for your orthodontist
They will speak to you about the specifics of your treatment. This will include specific case details such as treatment length and treatment cost.
But what if you have additional questions during your orthodontic consult? There are many important details that you might miss if you don’t know what questions to ask. The last thing you want to do is sign a large treatment contract and feel like you don’t have all your questions answered. What to ask at a braces consultation can be confusing without a guide.
Make sure you gather all the necessary information during your braces consultation to make an informed decision about your treatment. Not sure of what to ask? Use this list so you know what to ask at a braces consultation.
Questions To Ask At A Braces Consultation
1. How long will my treatment be?
The length of your treatment is based on factors such as the difficulty of your treatment. Your orthodontist will give you a treatment length estimate using their professional judgment and experience with similar cases.
Understanding your estimated treatment length will mentally prepare you for the upcoming time and energy commitment. This will also let you plan ahead for big events such as graduations, weddings and Quinceñeras.
2. How often will my adjustments be?
Each doctor has their own activation schedule for treatment. This may depend on the type of braces that they use. Confirm if you will be on a 4, 6, 8 or 10-week schedule for activations.
Verifying your appointment interval will help you plan your long term schedule so you don’t miss any appointments.
3. What happens if my treatment runs over my estimated time?
Your time in treatment is usually given as a treatment estimate. However, your treatment may be shorter or longer depending on how your body responds to treatment.
Verify what will happen if your treatment is significantly shorter or longer than your original treatment estimate. Check to see if needing more treatment will add additional treatment fees to continuing.
4. How much discomfort will there be?
Discomfort is common with braces, especially in the first month. Different braces treatments utilize different amounts of force, so you will want to know what to expect. Additional appliances such as rapid palatal expanders and tongue tamers can elevate the levels of discomfort.
Knowing how much discomfort to expect will help you plan the start of your treatment around work and school schedules. You may want to take a day off or give yourself a weekend to recover.
During your braces consultation, as your orthodontist how much discomfort they typically see with other patients.
5. Can I play sports with braces?
Be sure to tell your orthodontist which sports you are active in. Most sports will require an athletic mouthguard. You will need a braces specific athletic mouthguard once you start treatment
Verify which type or brand athletic mouthguard your orthodontist recommends for your specific treatment. A sports injury with braces can be very serious, so protect yourself at all times. We recommend the OrthoGuard to our patients.
6. Do I need to have my wisdom teeth taken out prior to starting braces?
In most cases, wisdom teeth do not need to be removed for the purpose of starting orthodontic treatment. However, there are special circumstances where a treatment plan will require removal of wisdom teeth right away.
Ask your orthodontist about the need to remove wisdom teeth and the timing of removal at your braces consult.
7. Can I start treatment if I have periodontal disease?
Your dental and periodontal status should be reviewed and discussed at length during your braces consultation. The orthodontist may proceed differently if your periodontal disease is treated versus untreated.
A referral back to your general dentist or to a periodontal specialist is important prior to starting treatment. This is to make sure that your teeth and gums are healthy enough prior to starting any treatment.
Periodontal Disease is one of the unique challenges for adults in braces. Check out this related video!
8. Can I whiten my teeth during ortho treatment?
Whitening teeth during orthodontic treatment is generally not advised. However, some offices carry whitening products that can be used during active orthodontic treatment.
During your ortho consult ask what whitening products your orthodontist recommends and when you can use them. Your doctor may recommend a whitening before or after orthodontic treatment instead of during treatment.
9. Will my speech be affected by my new braces?
Many patients have a difficult time initially with speaking. Getting used to braces or clear aligners requires re-learning how to speak properly with them on.
Ask your orthodontist what methods, tips or tricks will help you through the speech difficulties of the first month in treatment.
10. What Foods Should I Avoid?
Knowing what foods to avoid is a big part of patient compliance in orthodontic treatment. Anything that is hard or crunchy can break a bracket or a band. This will slow your treatment down. Verify with your orthodontist the foods they recommend that you stay away from
Asking about specific foods during your ortho consult will allow you to stock your refrigerator with food items that are braces friendly.
11. What if my insurance doesn’t pay their portion?
Your financial contract of your orthodontic treatment should be discussed during your braces consult. If you are using private insurance to cover a portion of your treatment, ask where the responsibility falls if your insurance does not cover their expected financial portion.
Make sure to identify the point person in the office that you will work with to sort this situation out, if it should happen.
12. What are your office policies on broken brackets?
Office policies will differ from orthodontist to orthodontist. Learning the policies and procedures of the office will keep surprises from happening.
During your braces consult, ask specifically how many broken brackets, bands or appliances you are allowed before you incur a repair fee. This can range from $20-70 per indent, depending on the office.
13. Do you have after school appointment times?
After school appointments are the most valuable time slots on your orthodontist schedule. These appointments book very quickly. Verify that these appointments are available for all different types of appointments such as:
- Starting treatment
- Monthly activations
- Clear aligner checks
- Appliance delivery
- Emergency appointments
- Removing braces
- Retainer checks
Orthodontist have various schedules, so be sure to ask questions and verify what appointments are allowed during the busiest time of the day.
14. Will I have more than one orthodontist treating me?
In most private practices your treatment will be started and finished by the same orthodontist. In a corporate dental setting you may experience high doctor turnover. If starting treatment at a large group practice or corporate setting, ask if you will only be treated by one orthodontist.
15. What oral hygiene items should I buy for my braces?
Good Oral hygiene is a key part of successful treatment. So you will want to stock up on the items you need before you start braces. Proper hygiene starts with good preparation.
Ask you orthodontist and treatment coordinator what oral care products they recommend to their patients in active treatment. Some offices sell products in-office. Ask if they have products available for purchase
16. What if my child’s oral hygiene is really bad during treatment?
There are circumstances where treatment is discontinued and braces removed prior to treatment being complete. This can happen when a patient’s oral hygiene is consistently poor. If a patient is not willing to take care of their teeth with braces on, your doctor may discontinue treatment.
Ask your doctor their stance on discontinuing treatment for poor oral hygiene. Ask what the doctor looks for to make this decision and also your options if you find yourself or your child in this unfortunate situation.
17. Will my clear/ceramic braces stain during treatment?
Clear brackets are much improved since the first version was released. Current versions don’t stain and remain very clear and esthetic throughout treatment. This shouldn’t be a worry. However, verify during your braces consultation if the clear brackets you will be using tend to stain.
18. Who can I contact in case of emergency during my treatment?
True orthodontic medical emergencies are rare. However, that does not mean that you won’t have a minor emergency after hours or during a long weekend.
During your ortho consult ask if the office has an after-hours phone line, text messaging or email system to manage emergencies. This is an important resource for you or your child in braces. You will want to be prepared in the event of an emergency during your treatment.
19. Will I need to wear a retainer?
During your initial orthodontist consultation ask your doctor what their retainer protocol after braces is. There are multiple types of retainers, so ask your doctor which type of retainer they prefer. Also, ask which type of retainer is best for you and why.
This is a good time to order a second set of retainers and roll that additional cost into your overall treatment fee. This will prevent additional fees the day you get your braces off and unwanted tooth movement if you lose your first set of retainers.
Related Video on Orthodontic Retainers
20. How long will I need to wear a retainer?
Each orthodontist has their own retention protocol. For example, here is our retention protocol. This protocol will be tailored to the specific needs of your case. After you have verified which type of retainer you will be using, you will want to verify your proposed wear schedule.
Speak with your orthodontist about any difficulties you may have with your proposed wear schedule. Discussing these difficulties early by getting your questions answered and avoid problems later on.
21. What happens if I fall behind on my monthly payments?
Most offices will be open to making financial arrangements with you. This will only be possible if your account isn’t habitually past due.
During your braces consultation, ask the treatment coordinator what options you have if the worst case scenario happens. Doctors would rather have you pay a portion of your outstanding balance and and keep your treatment on track. Because, this is better than no payment and missed appointments.
Book your braces consultation and bookmark this page! Make sure that you are well prepared with all the information that you need to make an informed decision.
Don’t start your treatment without having all of your questions answered. So use this list as an example of what to ask at a braces consultation.
Related article and a must read –> “What Happens At A Braces Consultation – A Complete Guide 2019“
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