7 questions to ask your orthodontist before braces
If you have issues with crooked teeth, braces are usually the best solution. However, there are a lot of things to consider before you actually fit them. Some of the questions to ask your orthodontist before braces include the treatment cost, benefits of braces, potential lifestyle changes, etc. Even if you opt for some of the best at-home braces, you will still need to have these questions answered. In this article, we are going to go through the seven of the most important questions you will want to ask your orthodontist before they fit you with your new braces.
The most important questions to ask your orthodontist before braces
- What are the best options for my long-term oral health?
- Which types of braces are available?
- How much will the treatment cost?
- How long will the treatment take?
- What is expected of me?
- What benefits can I expect from the braces?
- Frequency of follow-up visits?
Do note that you do not need to ask these questions in this exact order. Or that these are the only questions you will want to ask. The simple truth is that the more questions you ask, the better. Wearing braces presents a large lifestyle change, after all, and you will want to get as informed as possible. Your orthodontist will be happy to answer any of your questions, so don’t worry about that. Feel free to talk about different types of braces to take into consideration, the duration of the treatment, etc. at length. It is in your best interest to know as much about braces as you can. That way, you can be certain that you are making the best choice.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at why exactly these questions are so important.
What are the best options for my long-term oral health?
Most patients choose to wear braces because they want their teeth straightened. However, you should take a moment to consider any other improvements that you may get from your orthodontic treatment. While you may only consider the aesthetic improvements, it is always prudent to ask if you can “squeeze in” additional oral health improvements as well. One of the qualities of a good orthodontist is the fact that they will bring this matter to your attention, even if you don’t ask this question. However, as this question is potentially the most important one, you should be making the effort to ask it.
Properly aligning your teeth, as well as straightening them, can significantly reduce the risk of gum disease, tooth decay, shifting, etc. It is always a good idea to choose the option that provides you with the most long-term oral health benefits. This question also ties into the next question, which you might want to ask immediately after.
Which types of braces are available?
In most cases, the patients will have numerous options in front of them. Each option has its advantages, and the choice is usually not “clear-cut”. You will want to familiarize yourself with all the brace types that you qualify for. Even if you have already chosen your brace type when you noticed the warning signs that you need braces, it is always prudent to get more information. For example, most people consider metal braces as the “default” brace type. They are the traditional option, after all. Furthermore, metal braces are the least expensive type, and are best suited for people with more complex dental problems.
Then there are the clear braces, which function pretty much as their metal counterparts. The difference is that the brace brackets are clear, making this option much less noticeable. But if you are going for unnoticeable, you may also want to consider Invisalign. This is one of the most popular brace types today, due to the fact that they do not use any wires or brackets, and are considerably more comfortable. That being said, you will need to qualify for Invisalign and there’s the fact that you need to wear them almost constantly (22hrs each day). Lastly, if you have gum disease or any cavities, you will not be able to utilize Invisalign.
How much will the treatment cost?
This question is sometimes the most important one. Be sure to keep in mind the cost of the treatment at all times. It is very important that you are comfortable with the price after everything is said and done. And that means that you might want to ask about the cost of each option.
The treatment cost itself varies based on numerous factors. There’s your age to consider, as well as how much orthodontic work is required to fit the braces. The duration of the treatment plan will also determine the cost in a significant manner. You may also want to ask about any of the current dental tech trends that are changing the industry, such as virtual reality, dental 3D technology, emotional dentistry, etc. All of these may present an additional expense but may be more than worth it in the long run. It all depends on your financial situation and the level of comfort and convenience that you want from your treatment.
You will also want to talk to your orthodontist about insurance options, as they may considerably reduce the treatment cost. Unfortunately, dental insurance usually does not cover any cosmetic procedures, and braces often fall into the cosmetic procedure category. That being said, if your insurance plan accepts that the braces are medically necessary, you can deduct the cost of the treatment from your tax lien.
How long will the treatment take?
This is a very important question to ask. While the average time for an orthodontic brace treatment lasts anywhere between 18 to 24 months, every patient is unique. Your orthodontist (after conducting an initial assessment) will be able to provide you with a much smaller timeframe. The reason why this question is so important is that it will make coping with dental anxiety much easier. By knowing exactly how long will you wear braces, you will be able to create a “coping plan”.
Even the small, simple, fixes usually require at least a year. More complex orthodontic issues may require as many as 30 months to fix. And you want to know about the required treatment time in advance.
One of the most important questions to ask your orthodontist before braces: “What is expected of me?”
Many people consider that the braces will be doing all the work and discount the fact that they will need to adapt to their new circumstances. Therefore, one of the most important questions to ask your orthodontist before braces is: What exactly is expected of you? You will also want to ask about any lifestyle changes that you may need to adapt to, as well as any homework that you will need to do.
Depending on your choice of braces, you may or may not need to make significant adjustments to your daily routine. For example, you may need to completely re-think your palate, or you may simply need to adjust a few meals to account for the fact that you are now wearing braces. It all depends on your current lifestyle, though. You will need to tell your orthodontist about your current lifestyle and ask if you need to make any corrections to maintain your oral health. By doing so, you will know what to expect in the days and months to come.
Furthermore, you may also want to get some hygiene recommendations from your orthodontist, as well as any dietary restrictions. The more you go into detail, the easier it will be to maintain great progress with your treatment.
You will be expected to maintain your oral hygiene while wearing braces. That means that you may want to ask your orthodontist about any specific instructions when it comes to brushing or flossing your teeth. If you are using the braces with brackets, for example, the brackets themselves can be quite a hindrance when brushing your teeth. Your orthodontist can provide you with solutions to this issue, and many more, and can guide you through the best oral health practices when wearing braces.
For example, you may be advised to utilize elastic bands on the brackets or to get floss threaders. Or you may need to visit the orthodontist’s office from time to time. You can also ask about any other “homework”, such as whitening your teeth, for example. Wearing braces can be a challenging process, after all, and you will need to do your part. As every patient is quite unique, your orthodontist might also have other suggestions for you, as well.
What benefits can I expect from the braces?
Since wearing braces is quite challenging, you may need some additional motivation. Feel free to ask your orthodontist about all the benefits that braces will offer you. You may already know about the most common benefit, the improved aesthetic, but you may want to know that your self-esteem and confidence will also go up. Research shows the effect of orthodontic treatment on a person’s body (and mind) to be quite significant. Furthermore, there are numerous other benefits, such as making brushing and flossing much easier, healthier teeth and hums, and easier chewing.
What you may want to do is talk to your orthodontist about the positives at great length. This can have a considerable effect on improving your mood.
Frequency of follow-up visits?
Most orthodontic treatments that involve braces assume that you will be visiting the orthodontist’s office at regular intervals. However, the frequency of these follow-up visits differs from one plan to another. Make sure that you ask your orthodontist about how many times (and how frequently) will you be expected to present yourself at their office.
The frequency is unique to each patient but it also depends on the brace type you are using. Traditional or ceramic braces usually require monthly visits to the orthodontist’s office, while Invisalign requires a visit once in six weeks. That being said, the only one who can provide you with an accurate estimate is your orthodontist. Every situation is unique, after all, and requires special considerations. Knowing how often you will need to visit your orthodontist will provide you with an easier time planning your life in the following year or so. And there might also be some financial considerations, due to out-of-pocket expenses that are usually associated with visiting the orthodontist’s office.
Other questions that you might want to ask
The more you know about your treatment, the better. You should not resign to only asking the important seven questions. Here are some of the other questions that you might want to ask your orthodontist:
- Do I need to have any teeth extracted?
- Do I need to wear headgear?
- How much pain or discomfort may is involved in my treatment?
- Will I require jaw surgery?
- Do I need to clean my braces, and if so, how?
- Can I play sports while wearing braces?
- Are there any alternative options?
There are as many questions to ask your orthodontist before braces as there are unique people, truth be told. If you think of a question that you want an answer to, feel free to ask it. You may also want to write down all the questions, for easier reference. It can be very easy to get sidetracked and forget some of the more important questions when you are sitting in the orthodontist’s office.
If you would like to know even more about the best invisible braces on the market, or anything concerning your oral health and well-being, simply explore the Consumer Opinion Guide. We are there to make your research much easier!