Time, patience, and consistent maintenance are essential to ensuring that your teeth and gums remain in perfect health. However, due to a combination of genetics, environmental factors, and mere misfortune, everyone has the potential to develop chronic issues that affect the health of the mouth. The alignment of the teeth and the jaws, often a trait inherited from our parents, is of major importance, as a single tooth being even a millimeter out of place can have significant consequences on our mouths’ abilities to ward off infection. Our offices insist on nipping any potential orthodontic problems in the bud, and one way we do this is by encouraging new patients to schedule initial orthodontic consultations with us. If you are concerned about your own oral health or that of a loved one, be sure to watch the videos below to find out more about how initial orthodontic consultations can be in your best interest.
Why Are Initial Orthodontic Consultations Important?
The patient’s first visit is the most important one. This is because an untreated mouth offers the best opportunity to identify factors contributing to the patient’s orthodontic problems. If we focus only on how we will treat a malocclusion, we may miss the reasons the patient’s teeth are like that in the first place. We try to be very, very cognizant of the overall condition of patient’s mouth. If we’re not perceptive before starting treatment, the patient’s mouth becomes an altered environment.
In such a situation, it may no longer be possible to identify preexisting problems. We feel that an individualized treatment plan is the most important thing we offer. And it starts with the first visit. This is when we carefully evaluate things that are going on in that patient’s mouth that contribute to their need for orthodontic intervention.
Do You Charge for a Consultation?
The initial phone call from a patient or a family member of a potential patient, almost always involves the question: “Is there a fee for an initial consultation?” The simple answer is no. At our practice, we do not charge a fee until we begin treatment. Initial orthodontic consultations allow us to get an idea of what might be necessary. They also help us seek out available insurance coverage for a patient before they are tied into a fee.
Do I Need a Referral to See an Orthodontist?
Very often, new and potential patients ask if they need a referral from their general dentist. The answer is no. Anybody can call and make an appointment for an initial consultation. In fact, we encourage them to do so. Because we do not charge a fee for initial orthodontic consultations, it is a good idea to come into the office and learn what might need to be done in the future. To conclude, you do not need a referral from your general dentist.
What Issues Need to Be Seen Early?
Certain problems, such as the relationship between the upper and lower jaws, can benefit from early orthodontic treatment. The upper jaw behaves like a door frame that accepts a door closing into it. A small upper jaw might affect the way the lower jaw is able to close into it. A patient with such a jaw might develop a crossbite. A unilateral crossbite is one problem we prefer to see prior to age seven. It is treated with a simple appliance that corrects the width of the upper jaw while allowing the lower jaw to re-center itself. It, therefore, contributes to more favorable future growth. Other patients we like to see early on include those who show signs of tongue dysfunction. Or patients who may have developed certain detrimental habits. Sometimes, an orthodontist can talk with these patients and help them to stop a finger habit, for example. If we recognize a tongue pattern problem and cannot treat it ourselves, we may refer the parent to someone who can help. Very often, tongue dysfunction that is not contributing to an educational deficiency is overlooked because a school’s speech pathologist may not want to identify a tongue thrust. We feel that regardless of age, if a parent suspects something is wrong, it is a good age to bring the patient in. Allow us to make a critical evaluation of anything that might contribute to a poor oral environment.