New Patient: 3 Step Process
1. Initial Examination
The American Association of Orthodontists suggests all children be seen by an orthodontist around the age of 7. This examination is to determine whether orthodontic issues are present and if present when to address them.
While some offices offer virtual examinations, we feel there is no substitute for an in-person clinical examination.
Questions we try to answer during this examination are:
- Are you or your child a candidate for orthodontics?
- If a candidate for orthodontics, when is the best time to start?
In orthodontics timing is everything. We may see orthodontic issues in a young child, take note of those issues, and determine that they are best addressed later after further growth and development.
We may see orthodontics as beneficial for an adult, but other dental needs need to be addressed prior to starting treatment.
An initial examination helps to establish a baseline for treatment.
If you or your child is not ready for treatment, he/she will be placed in our observation program where they will return to the office on a periodic basis until ready for orthodontic treatment.
If ready the next step is to gather digital diagnostic records to allow us to develop an orthodontic treatment plan.
2. Digital Records
Digital Radiographs – Two types:
1. assess health of teeth and boney support
2. evaluate tooth eruption
3. evaluate jaw joint health
1. analyze jaw and tooth positions
2. compare jaw and tooth positions to norms for age/gender/ethnicity
3. assess growth and development stage
Digital photography – Two types:
- Face Photos
1. assess facial symmetry
2. evaluate soft tissue profile
3. determine potential changes tooth movement may have on lip position
- Teeth Photos
1. analyze occlusion (bite)
2. assess health and status of gum tissues
3. document as a baseline the beginning occlusion (bite)
Digital impressions or scan
- In our office gone are the days of goopy dental impressions that cause gagging and discomfort
- Digital scanning allows us to produce an 3D representation of the teeth that is more accurate than traditional impressions
- From the scan we can assess tooth alignment and analyze the bite.
This is a time to discuss the diagnostic records and review treatment options.
Why a consultation?
A consultation is not always necessary. If the treatment plan can be determined during the initial examination, then there is no need for a consultation. If more time is needed to review the diagnostic records and develop a treatment plan, then a consultation is scheduled.
We feel like this is one of the most important parts of the orthodontic process.
Orthodontic treatment is a commitment. Patients and parents need to be aware of the responsibilities required for treatment success.
The consultation lasts about 20-30 minutes and allows for an open dialog between all involved parties to discuss the treatment process and establish expectations.
It is also a time to review insurance and payment arrangements with all responsible parties.
Two options for consultation:
Based on your preference these discussions can be performed either in the office or virtually via a video conference platform.
Virtual consultations allow for this discussion to be performed when and where it is convenient for your family. It also prevents parents or patients from having to leave home or work to discuss treatment options. Virtual consultations also allow for the convenience of multiple responsible parties in different locations to be a part of the treatment review.