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7 Orthodontic Facts Every Patient Should Know Before Treatment

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smiling girl with braces If you’re thinking about straightening your teeth, a question you may type into a search engine might be “What should I know before getting orthodontic treatment?” Thankfully, we have you covered in today’s blog! Below, you’ll find 7 of the most common questions orthodontists around the country receive every day along with their answers. After reading this, you should have all the information you need before scheduling your first appointment.

Do I need a dentist’s referral to see an orthodontist?

A common misconception is that people simply can’t visit an orthodontist on their own, but that they need a referral from their general dentist first. The truth is that if you have any concerns about the alignment of your teeth, you’re always free to go see an orthodontist, and orthodontists actually highly encourage being proactive!

What will my first appointment be like?

Your first orthodontic visit will likely consist of the orthodontist giving you an exam, taking some X-rays, and maybe taking a digital impression of your bite as well. This enables them to completely understand the state of your oral health before making treatment recommendations. They’ll then discuss your options with you, and you’ll also have a chance to work out any financial details so your treatment can begin as smoothly as possible.

How long does braces/Invisalign take?

The answer to this question depends on two factors: the severity of the misalignment in your teeth and bite, and your ability to follow your orthodontist’s instructions. A patient with slightly crooked teeth who keeps up with their progress appointments might see final results within a year. On the other hand, if a person has advanced issues and doesn’t listen to their orthodontist, the process can drag on for years. In general, however, most orthodontists will tell you that braces take about two to three years, while Invisalign takes an average of 12-18 months.

Does getting braces/Invisalign hurt?

Right after braces have been put on or adjusted, it’s common for a patient to feel a little pressure and oral tenderness for a few days. The same applies for getting a new Invisalign aligner. Thankfully, these symptoms are usually minor, go away quickly, and can easily be managed with OTC medication.

Which is better: Invisalign or braces?

This really depends on your specific needs and concerns. Want a treatment that your friends and coworkers won’t notice? If so, then Invisalign is the solution for you. But, to correct more complex alignment issues, traditional metal braces may be your only option. Your orthodontist will make their recommendation based on an exam and your input at your initial consultation.

Can I use dental insurance to cover orthodontic treatment?

This really depends on your plan’s specific coverage, but generally, most insurances will pay for at least part of an orthodontic treatment, though many are limited to metal braces. It’s best to go over your plan and talk to your provider to get a definitive answer.

Can I finance my orthodontic treatment?

Yes, most practices offer low-to-no interest financing so patients can break up the cost of their treatment into smaller monthly installments. Some practices use third-party financiers while others have their own in-house financing. Be sure to call a practice ahead of your first visit if you have questions about financing.

About the Author

Dr. Jeffrey Shirck is a children’s and adult orthodontist who has been voted as one of Columbus’ Top Orthodontists every year since 2011. He and our team are always happy to take time to answer patient questions, so if there is anything you’d like to know that we haven’t covered here, go ahead and give Shirck Orthodontics a call. We can provide even more information and better answers at a FREE in-person consultation, which you can schedule at any of our locations by clicking here. Be sure to ask about our 0% interest in-house financing!