In case you have misaligned teeth or are missing a few teeth, your dentist would most probably refer you to another doctor who specializes in the field of oral dentistry that deals with dental deformities and jaw related irregularities. Now most of us would actually feel a bit apprehensive about visiting an orthodontist for fear of not knowing what would actually transpire in his/her office.
With little or no knowledge of what could happen during the consultation and details of the procedures involved, some individuals would actually try to put off their plans of visiting an orthodontist until the issue becomes too severe to be neglected. Let’s hope this article can be of some help to you.
Given below are some of the more common scenarios that would await you in the orthodontist’s office during your first visit. I have also included a few snippets of why you need to visit an orthodontist in the first place and what conditions would warrant such a visit, to help you deal with the visit better.
Tips for Orthodontist First Appointment
Who exactly is an Orthodontist?
An orthodontist is an oral health professional who is specialized in taking care of dental deformities like crooked teeth, missing teeth and jaw irregularities etc. Your dentist would most probably want you to meet an orthodontist to get a second opinion on your dental issues, including the nature of the problem and whether it could be treated using orthodontic treatment.
What exactly does Orthodontic Treatment Deal with?
Orthodontic treatment deals with perfecting smiles, replacing lost teeth and correcting irregular bites. This is usually done with the help of special orthodontic appliances like braces, dentures, implants, bridges, crowns etc. Whether you need orthodontic treatment or not is a question that would be best answered by the orthodontist when you visit him/her for the first time.
However, you may be able to gauge whether you would need this form of treatment if you have a misaligned teeth that look horrible when you smile or laugh, if you have an irregular bite (gaps between the teeth) and cannot chew on your food properly or if you are constantly suffering from teeth, gum or jaw related issues.
What to expect during the First Examination
Question and Answer Session
Your first visit to the orthodontist would have him/her asking you a series of questions, including why you want to opt for an orthodontic treatment, whether you had opted for this sort of treatment before, and whether you are suffering from specific health related ailments like diabetes, high/low blood pressure etc.
The orthodontist would then proceed to examine your mouth (with a ruler and mouth mirror) and ascertain the seriousness of the deficiency. He/she would also want to take some photographs, profile and panoramic X rays and mould impressions of your teeth as well. These examinations would make it easier for him/her to decide on the best course of action to correct your problem.
The Initial Outcome
After carefully studying the reports and records garnered from the tests, the orthodontist would offer you a list of options and outcomes. These would include the scenario where either you need to visit him/her at a later stage (because you are not ready or old enough for orthodontic treatment, you have decayed teeth or overall poor dental health which needs to be improved before you can opt for orthodontic treatment, your teeth are placed properly and do not need to be corrected), or you are fit and ready for the treatment.
Choosing the Best Treatment Plan
If the orthodontist decides that you are ready for orthodontic treatment, he/she would go to the next step of giving you the best possible options to correct your dental issue. Accordingly, he/she would recommend the use of devices like braces, dentures, bridges, crowns etc. to correct the issue.
He/she would also speak about the need to perform certain actions before implementing these options. These would include factors like the need to make some space between the teeth to fit the devices properly, or the need to extract a tooth that would be too weak to hold the devices etc.
In any case, this would be the perfect time for you to clear any and every doubt that you have about the procedure. Don’t be scared to ask about alternate options that would not hinder your appearance, or possible side effects that could arise from the procedure.
For instance, you may not want to use traditional braces that could look ugly. Or you may be allergic to a certain element used in the brace or denture. So make it a point to discuss every little doubt that you have with the orthodontist before taking a decision.
Giving a Nod of Approval
So what happens if you decide to go ahead with the process? What happens then? Before you get to know all that, you need to understand one thing. A perfect smile or bite cannot be achieved overnight. Similarly, an orthodontic treatment is not some kind of a miracle that would make all your dental issues vanish in one visit.
It would take a good number of visits and consultations before your issue could be properly and permanently fixed. In certain cases, it would also take a couple of years to fix the issue. You need to be physically, mentally and financially prepared for the entire process. For in addition to the frequent checkups and post procedural actions, there might be some embarrassing dental issues that you would feel squeamish to reveal to others, even an orthodontist. So be prepared for it all.
Starting the Actual Process
Taking all these factors into account, if you say ‘yes’ and decide to go ahead with the treatment, the orthodontist would start with the preliminary procedures. Most of the time, this would include cleaning the teeth completely to remove existing decay or trapped particles that could become trapped below after the device is fitted, or spacing/removing a few teeth that are either decayed or too weak to support the devices.