With advancements in technology, there are a lot of options for orthodontic treatment these days. Whether it is clear aligners, alternative types of braces, or orthopedic appliances, orthodontists specialize in using these tools. They know what to use, how and when to use it, and recognize that different treatment strategies can yield different results.
Are you considering treatment to improve your own or your child's smile? Your next step is to prepare yourself for an initial evaluation. Here are 7 essential questions you should ask your provider before investing in orthodontic treatment:
1. What options do I have?
You or your child may have a few different options when it comes to treatment. Your orthodontist can discuss which is most ideal, and how your results may be different depending on which path you take. Orthodontists strategically plan treatment with your smile goals in mind. To give you the very best outcome, they also take into account your dental health, facial balance, bite, airway and breathing, tooth sizing, and stability of your results. For children, growth and dental development are considered so that orthodontic treatment (if needed) can be timed and planned appropriately.
Orthodontists also typically offer a variety of techniques for correcting your smile, including clear aligners, clear braces, classic braces, and potentially lingual braces. They can help you decide which option fits your needs, lifestyle, budget and goals.
2. Are you an orthodontist?
Consider researching your provider's credentials. Orthodontics involves complex mechanics, and is not something that can be learned in a weekend or month long course. Did you know that both dentists and orthodontists start their education on similar paths? While a dentist may begin practicing general dentistry, an orthodontist completes an additional two to three year residency after becoming a dentist. Some orthodontists also choose to become Board Certified.
3. How long will my treatment take?
The length of orthodontic treatment depends on the severity of your case and option chosen. Minor or limited cases may only take a few months, while more comprehensive cases may take a year or two. Ask your provider for an estimate of how long it might take to achieve your goals.
4. How often will my appointments be?
Different treatment approaches require different appointment intervals. Regular appointments are important to keep your treatment on track. Braces and orthopedic appliances typically require evaluations every 4 to 8 weeks, while clear aligners or alternative types of braces may only require check-ins or adjustments every 6 to12 weeks. Your provider should be able to give you an idea of what to expect. Verifying your appointment interval will help you plan so that you don’t miss any appointments.
5. What happens if my treatment runs over the estimated time?
Treatment times vary. While some patients finish treatment early, others may take extra visits. Treatment may take longer for a variety of reasons, including slower than expected tooth movement, missed visits, a change in goals, poor hygiene, or appliance breakages.
Verify what will happen if your treatment does take longer than your original estimate, and check to see if needing more treatment will add additional treatment fees. At Godley Family Orthodontics, we don't believe in charging extra to complete your treatment plan and achieve your dream smile.
6. Do you accept my insurance or offer payment plans?
Not all offices are in-network with dental insurance. Though you may have some insurance benefit with an out-of-network provider, utilizing your benefits with an in-network provider can make a big difference in the cost of treatment. Many offices also offer in-house financing to help make treatment affordable for you and your family.
7. Are retainer options included?
After treatment, the final positions of teeth are maintained with retainers according to your orthodontist's protocol. Luckily there are several different types of retainers -- most are removable, but some are bonded or fixed behind the teeth. Most orthodontists include retainers in the cost of your treatment. The appropriate retainer for you is based on several factors, and your orthodontist can help guide you in selecting the best retainer to help maintain your results.
At Godley Family Orthodontics we offer a range of options when it comes to treatment, and a complimentary consultation to get you started. Our office is conveniently located on Michigan Road and serves Zionsville, Carmel, Westfield, and surrounding Indiana communities. We look forward to meeting you!