Be curious. Questions you should ask before Orthodontic treatment

Post by 
Dr. Justin Evans

ost of us, when speaking to an orthodontist for the first time, will have some idea about what we would like to have addressed about our teeth.  We may know that there is pain, pressure, or something doesn’t look or feel right but to narrow down the particular problem it is essential that you ask your orthodontist the right questions and your orthodontist asks you the right questions.

When you have an issue with your teeth or your smile, a specialist trained orthodontists will be able to tell you how the problem occurred in the first place and what can be done to get it fixed. So, when you visit your specialist, here's some guidelines as to questions you should ask to know you're in the right place for you.

Are you a specialist orthodontist?

Top of your list is determining if your practice is a specialist orthodontic practice. The first point of difference lies in that every orthodontist is a qualified dentist, but not every dentist is a qualified orthodontist. One of the important things to ask an orthodontist in an interview is about their education. He or she should have completed three additional years of orthodontic specialty training. Keep in mind, the level of education and the orthodontist’s amount of experience can vary. Find out more about the orthodontist’s background by asking:

  • Where did you go to dental school?
  • Where did you complete your orthodontic specialty residence?
  • How long have you been practicing?

What treatment options are you suggesting and what results can I expect to achieve

You and your orthodontist need to be on the same page and you need to make sure you communicate what exactly you want addressed. Your orthodontist will need to establish your needs and provide you with various options to resolve your problems. You can ask why various options are better than others. All orthodontists are trained to base their diagnostic and planning skills on evidence-based science.

What Is Your Experience with This Treatment?

When choosing the right specialist orthodontist for your treatment, you want one who has the right experience and skill. Don't be afraid to ask about your orthodontist’s experience with performing a certain procedure, particularly the one he or she is recommending for you.

What other orthodontic options can I consider?

Orthodontists generally offer a suggested course of treatment during the consultation. Ask the orthodontist to walk you through this treatment, and then ask about alternative orthodontic treatments, if they’re available. You may also want to ask about the pros and cons of the specific treatment modalities. Non-specialists may have a limited number of options available to you as their training is less extensive.

How can I prepare for Treatment?

Before treatment begins, make sure you're properly prepared and informed. Your orthodontist will advise on how to best prepare for the particular procedure that you will be undergoing. Sometimes this will involve pre treatment work that your general dentist needs to carryout to make sure you are “dentally fit” before you start. Gum disease and decay must be diagnosed and dealt with before orthodontic treatment. Collecting the necessary x-rays before treatment is essential to ensure your ongoing dental health. Orthodontic treatment should NEVER be considered without prior consideration of these facts. You will also be made aware of the risks and benefits of treatment. This is an important part of your consent process.

What can I expect after treatment?

Knowing how to take care of yourself after orthodontic an orthodontic appointment is really important. Your orthodontic specialist will advise you about potential issues following a visit and how to deal with them. This may vary from letting you know what foods to avoid and how to look after your teeth and gums, to minimising any discomfort you may experience

Finally, don't be swayed by the latest fads or marketing strategies

There is so much false information online, in social media, paid-for search engines and particularly marketing ads, that it can be confusing. There is only one true source of trust, that's your specialist orthodontist. They operate to the highest standards of care and ethics and are only driven by what you want out of treatment and not by what the latest marketing strategies or fads are trying to promote.