What Orthodontists Don’t Tell You: The Top 10
I recently came across an article with this title and was intrigued because I wanted to make sure I was informing my patients properly.
Below I discuss the items mentioned in the article.
1. “There are some people who can give you braces who are not real orthodontists.” I have a degree in Dentistry and a Masters of Science degree in Orthodontics. I am a board eligible orthodontist who completed a three year orthodontic residency. I do not practice general dentistry, which allows me to concentrate fully on orthodontic issues that my patients have.
2. “The last payment is not really your last.” Before we start treatment, I discuss all the expected needs of the treatment. We also discuss that if any additional items are needed (for example when a patient has a skeletal problem and is growing out of the improvements we’ve already made with orthodontics), we will address that. Before we start orthodontics, I let the patient and parents know if I am leaning towards a need for something additional. Retainers needed after braces are included in our treatment.
3. “There are different “types” of treatment.” There are different schools of thought on some types of orthodontic treatment. As with most things, there are traditional proven successful methods and there are some methods that may or may not have science behind them. UNC-Chapel Hill’s Orthodontic Residency Program, where I trained, is arguably the best orthodontic residency in the country – where residents are educated to look for research-based answers and options for treatment. The educational program at UNC is not afraid to address some types of treatment that may not be evidence-based treatments, teaching the residents to rely on data-driven outcomes.
4. “Not everyone needs braces at seven years old.” I tell all of my patients the pros and cons of getting treatment. I also discuss whether their concerns are solely aesthetic or what might happen if they don’t opt for treatment. Most people don’t need treatment at the age of 7, but we see children of that age and younger often to determine if the problem they might be having is something they need to take care of soon, or if their problem can wait until they have more permanent teeth, or at all.
5. “The costs of orthodontics can be negotiated.” I don’t want healthcare to be degraded to the status of an outdoor flea market. Do you want your orthodontist to be the best, well-trained practitioner? I do not know exactly what my fellow colleagues in orthodontists are charging for various treatments, but I can tell you that I feel our treatment costs are fair and are not excessive. We have different forms of payments plans to help people with their treatment goals. Our practice also has some characteristics that others may not – check us out at www.partrickorthodontics.com.
6. “Teeth are not guaranteed to stay straight.” I address this with every patient when we talk about orthodontic treatment and how important retainers are. We have a saying in orthodontics about retainers, “Nighttime for a lifetime.” If you wear your retainers, the chances of your teeth changing are very low. [There are very few patients who have extenuating circumstances at the end of treatment, but they are aware of their particular circumstances.]
7. “These braces have been worn before by someone else.” It is nearly impossible to “re-use” braces, because they are permanently distorted when they are removed from teeth. In addition, we are vigilant in regards to recommended sterilization practices to ensure you have the same treatment we would like for ourselves.
8. “There are trendy options in braces and they may not be a good choice.” There are some “trendy” braces options that parents and patients inquire about (for example clear braces or a braces “brand”). If a patient inquires about these options, I am happy to let them know if this is a good option for them. I am also confident in letting patients know the limitations of treatment (trendy or otherwise). In fact, I take this obligation seriously, to inform patients about their options, even if these options are not interesting to the patient. I want the patient to be informed and make choices based on the best information available.
9. “The braces may be on longer than originally planned.” I give every patient a range of dates that their treatment should be completed. Before starting I also discuss with them reasons why treatment might not be completed on time, so that we can discuss how we negotiate this problem should it arise.
10. “Braces can hurt.” I describe the process involved in orthodontics to my patients, including when it will be uncomfortable. Almost all patients are glad they decided to have their teeth straightened with a great smile and improved self-esteem. I had braces as a young person, so I feel comfortable in discussing this process with patients, first person. Orthodontists move teeth in bone, which causes pressure. But it is not constant pressure for the duration of the treatment. Usually the most discomfort is about a 3 day period when the braces are first put on and then the pressure subsides. At each appointment we make changes to the braces, but the discomfort is not comparable to the first few days. People feel pain differently from each other, so what is uncomfortable to one patient may not bother another, and vice versa.
I hope this information above has been helpful. If you have any questions or comments on this information or any other questions you might have about orthodontics, please contact us as 919-469-9609 or firstname.lastname@example.org