Your First Visit
What should you expect the first time you visit a Jacksonville University orthodontist? Answers. You will be told what the problem appears to be, what tests are needed to properly diagnose the problem and formulate a treatment plan, and when is the best time to begin therapy. Once orthodontic therapy is recommended, we’ll also explain the particular reasons necessitating that therapy. Common reasons include:
- Cosmetics (to straighten teeth, adjust an overbite/underbite, etc.)
- Facilitating other dental work (to properly position teeth for future capping, bridges, or implants)
- Correcting a jaw discrepancy or skeletal disharmony (bite is off)
- Helping to maintain periodontal status (health of the supporting gums and bone)
The second part of this appointment involves meeting with a member of our office staff so you can discuss the fees and financial arrangements involved if you decide to proceed. This is the time to get all your questions answered regarding the proposed treatment plan, the length of the treatment and the financial responsibilities you are assuming.
The next step is gathering the information that is necessary to properly diagnose problems and create a suggested course of treatment. These diagnostic records usually consist of:
- X-rays of the teeth to determine how sound they are and whether the bony support for them is adequate
- A film of the skull to see the relationship of the teeth to the jaws and the jaws to one another
- Photographs of the face to assess the profile and the effect that any proposed tooth or jaw movement may have
- A clinical exam to check for cavities and gum disease
- A medical history review, as there are many underlying physical problems that can impact the success or failure of orthodontic therapy
At the consultation, you will first meet with a doctor who will outline the diagnosis and recommended treatment plan. The actual problem will be explained to you in a language you can understand. You will be told why the correction is advised and how it is to be achieved. You’ll also be informed of any reasonable alternative methods of resolving the problem.
As with all forms of medical treatment, you need to be made aware of any risks, limitations, or compromises that relate to your specific situation. You will also be told what result you can expect from undergoing orthodontic therapy versus what will occur if no treatment is undertaken.
It is now time to begin treatment. The braces or appliances will be specifically tailored to each patient’s particular problem. This may require removable and/or permanent appliances. Once the braces are attached to the teeth, you will be given careful instructions on how to care for them. It is very important to follow these instructions so the treatment progresses in a timely and healthy manner.
Patients also have certain responsibilities to meet in order to achieve the best results possible. Some of these are:
- Maintaining good oral hygiene
- Wearing rubber bands or headgear as instructed
- Keeping regularly scheduled appointments
- Continuing to see a general dentist at least twice a year unless your orthodontist recommends otherwise
At the end of active treatment, you or your child will undergo a period of retention care. This phase of treatment is necessary to evaluate and help maintain the results achieved. An appropriate retainer will be made to maximize the stability of the finished result. It is normal for there to be some movement of the teeth over the years, but this should be minimal if the retention care plan is followed.
Orthodontic therapy carries many benefits. Evaluating these can only be done if you have been given sufficient information on which to base your decision to undergo care. You have a right to know. To be educated is to be able to choose wisely. We take pride in giving you all the information you need to make the process easy.