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Smile Elements Orthodontics Blog

5 Important Questions to Ask Your Orthodontist Before Treatment

Posted by Dr. Hisham Badawi | July 10 2019


     There’s no point in going into your orthodontic treatment blindly, and your orthodontist doesn’t want this for you, either! Asking more questions demonstrates your interest in your oral health, and allows you to take your treatment more seriously once you understand the importance of it. 


     Here are some questions you may want to get out of the way during your consultation so you have a well-rounded understanding of what’s expected of you, what’s expected from your treatment, and how your orthodontist can help you reach your orthodontic goals!


  • What Are All of My Options?


     Though a broad question, it does help you narrow down what treatment will best work with your needs, preferences, and how willing you are to comply. Depending on what problems you’re looking to fix, you could have many options available to you at one time, and it’s important to go over all of them.


     Your orthodontist will make recommendations based on your consultation, and what they think will get your treatment done better and faster. At the end of the day, however, the treatment you pursue solely depends on what you’re comfortable with!


     If your orthodontist recommends braces to straighten your teeth and fix your bite, but the thought of wearing braces makes you self-conscious, you could always inquire about Invisalign, or clear aligners. These clear aligners have become popular among those wishing for a more discreet, nearly invisible option that will give them all the same benefits of traditional orthodontic treatment. There are even more discreet options for braces that are either tooth colored or clear, which will help ease your mind when it comes to their appearance. 


     Before you make a decision either way, make sure you discuss the pros, cons, and everything else that comes with your chosen method of treatment with your orthodontist.

  • Can You Show Me Examples of Similar Cases?


     Even if it’s just to ease your mind, you can ask your orthodontist to show you pictures, videos, or other examples of previous cases they’ve successfully treated. Your orthodontist will likely have several previous cases similar to yours that they’ll be happy to provide you with, if it means making your treatment easier!


     Nearly all orthodontists have examples of multiple before and after shots for this exact purpose, so don’t be shy about asking for them. Once you do go over the examples together, just keep in mind that no two patients are the same; just because another patient had similar dental irregularities, doesn’t mean yours will be solved in the same way their own was. Your treatment plan will be entirely customized for you, and your teeth will move and adjust at their own pace. Simply use the before and after shots as a point of reference, not as your own treatment plan! 


     These cases will be extremely helpful for you to picture what your smile will look like after you’re finished, and will help to get you excited about your new smile! There’s nothing like a little push to keep you focused and on track. 

  • What Lifestyle Changes Will I Need To Make?


     While orthodontic treatment won’t change every aspect of your life, it will change some things. It’s important to have a thorough conversation with your orthodontist about what aspects of your lifestyle you’ll need to change in order to get the most out of your treatment. 


     These changes typically include how carefully you take care of your dental hygiene, what you eat, and the efforts you make to keep your smile out of harm’s way. While your orthodontist will go over all of this with you as a precaution, it’s important to be thorough and ask anything and everything that may also be on your mind. Which one of my favorite foods do I have to avoid from now on? Can I still play sports? It might be best to make up a list of questions so you don’t leave anything out!


     Your dental hygiene practices will need some changes and updates, as well. It’s important to take great care of your teeth throughout treatment in order to have a perfect smile when your braces come off, or once you’ve worn your last Invisalign tray. The point of orthodontic treatment is not only to achieve a straight smile, but to pave the way towards a lifetime of better oral health. 


     Your orthodontist will recommend different brushing and flossing practices that will directly correlate with the type of orthodontic treatment you’ve chosen. If you’ve decided to go with braces, they’ll advise you to pay special attention to your brackets and wires and ensure they’re thoroughly cleaned and brushed. If you’ve chosen a method such as clear aligners, they’ll explain how to properly clean them, and how to keep your teeth clean so as not to damage them. All of these cleaning and hygiene tips will ensure your treatment goes as smoothly as possible. 


  • How Long Will This Take?

     It’s best to be mentally prepared for everything, and this includes buckling in for the long haul. Orthodontic treatment doesn’t always take a long time, but if you want to achieve your dream results and make sure your smile is perfect, you should expect to undergo treatment for as long as it takes to meet your smile goals. Keep in mind that the average length for orthodontic treatment is roughly two years


     You should have this conversation with your orthodontist after choosing your method of treatment so you have a general timeline in mind. The predicted time will never be exact, but your orthodontist will estimate as closely as they can to give you the best possible answer; just know that treatment times do vary, and it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If your orthodontist notices down the road that your teeth or jaw are moving in unexpected directions, they can quickly make adjustments to get you back on track. This means you constantly have an expert monitoring treatment and working with you so you can get the smile of your dreams, at a pace that works with your treatment.


     At the end of the day, you should expect to undergo treatment for roughly two years. This is a fairly standard timeline for most types of orthodontic treatment, and unless you have a relatively straight smile with only small corrections to be made, it’s unlikely it’ll take less time. 


  • What Can I Expect From My Chosen Method of Treatment?

big smile

     This may be the most important question you ask, and the one that’s most specific to you. Each treatment available to you will get you amazing results that you’ll love, but the side effects of them and lifestyle adjustments to be made will all be at least a little different.

     Your orthodontist will go over important aspects such as your new diet, your new precautions, your new oral hygiene routine, answer any and all questions you have related to those fields, and anything else you can think of. There will be a different set of expectations, routines and procedures for all types of orthodontic treatment, and you should know exactly what to expect to get the most out of it.

Topics: Orthodontics

Written by Dr. Hisham Badawi

An accomplished clinician, researcher, speaker and subject matter expert, with broad, in-depth and hands-on experience in many verticals within the healthcare space including technology applications in clinical practice, clinical research, biomechanics, bioinformatics, intellectual property, software development, clinical data sciences, and healthcare data privacy regulations.

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