orthodontists

Changing Orthodontists during Active Treatment

Orthodontics LAST UPDATED: MARCH 28, 2017

Is it Possible for a Patient to Change Orthodontists?

You may not think about it before you get braces, but it may become a question you need to address. What if you need to change orthodontists?

FAQ

Why do you need to change orthodontists?

The number one reason people change orthodontists is they are moving. We live in an area where there’s a fairly large military community, and a lot of people move in and out. Sometimes these moves are unexpected and the kids or adults are in the middle of orthodontic treatment. Or, they’ll come from one office in another part of the country to a different one. So, “yes,” it is possible to change orthodontists.

What’s involved in the situation?

It will be harder when you see two or three orthodontists during the course of your treatment because orthodontists’ techniques are often different. Regardless of how things flow, it’s always not as effective when there’s more than one orthodontist working on a patient. With that being said, the American Association of Orthodontics came up with a system that works well, providing forms that address exactly where patients were at the beginning of treatment. Most offices will provide you your initial records, the initial treatment plan and reason for treatment.

How would the payments work out?

Another form offers suggestions on how the initial orthodontist would complete treatment, steps he would take, and how much time is left for the remainder of the treatment. There’s also a financial form.

Usually there’s a formula to calculate how much money you’ve put down with the first orthodontist and how much money the insurance paid out. This way the next orthodontist knows what’s left in the financial contract and can help smooth things out.

But, despite the best efforts of both parties to ensure a smooth transition, there can be hiccups. Is the second orthodontist comfortable using the appliances the first orthodontist used? Every orthodontist is different and there are many different types of braces and appliances that deliver similar results. But, orthodontists are trained differently and more comfortable using one appliance over another. So, before moving, ask if the next orthodontist uses the braces you have. Or, do you have an appliance in your mouth, to correct your bite? Ask if the orthodontist is comfortable using that appliance. These are good things to know before you go.

Unfortunately, most people will pay more for treatment than they would normally due to the up-front costs associated with orthodontists. Initially, you pay more upfront to the orthodontist. Then, you see the second orthodontist longer than you would if you had just continued with the first orthodontist. Unfortunately, the transition is never 100 percent efficient. So, you pay more.

What are some other reasons you might change orthodontists?

If you plan to move, plan accordingly. Even though moving is the main reason for switching orthodontists, every once in a while, patients switch orthodontists because they’re unhappy. That’s more of a difficult transition, due to the situation. Usually, you deal with professionals that transfer the records and can expect the process mentioned earlier. So, regardless of the reason of changing orthodontists, look for orthodontists that use the same appliances, the same braces you have, and ensure they are comfortable using them. Then, your treatment will go as efficiently and smoothly as possible, despite the change in offices.

A young female patient came in a few weeks ago after calling two to three orthodontists. She knew what type of braces she had, but the other orthodontists told her they weren't comfortable with the type. They advised they may need to take her braces off and put different ones on to ensure everything goes smoothly. Obviously, when you have braces on, you don’t want to replace them in the middle of your treatment when it’s unnecessary. When she came in, I assured her I was comfortable using the braces she had. Although, they aren’t the main type of braces we use, I was trained with them. And, her treatment’s gone smoothly.

Before switching orthodontists, always ask yourself if you’re comfortable at that office. And, remember, if you ask the right questions--expect a smoother transition.

At Beecroft Orthodontics we welcome new patients that have moved to the local area. If you are already based in the local area and are using a local orthodontist, it will most likely be case dependent.

For more information, questions and advice, contact Beecroft Orthodontists. We are always happy to help.

Beecroft Orthodontics, 10472 Georgetown Dr Fredericksburg ,

Virginia Phone: 540-898-2200

Changing Orthodontists during Active Treatment

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Braces Treatment: Retainers Phase

LAST UPDATED: FEBRUARY 28, 2017

How Long Should Someone Wear a Retainer after Braces are Removed?

It’s the first question a patient asks after their braces come off, we've celebrated the momentous occasion, and handed him a retainer: How long do I have to wear my retainer?

It’s a good and valid question.

I’ll highlight the type of retainer used most often, why retainers are so important and how long you need to wear them.

FAQ

When are retainers used most often?

Orthodontists use the clear plastic retainers most often. Even though there are retainers with a metal wire that go across the front of the teeth, there’s nothing worse than getting your braces off and having an orthodontist put a metal wire in your mouth, saying, “You have to wear this full time for a few months.” So, we use the clear plastic retainer, which fits snuggly around the teeth. It won’t allow the teeth move or turn and, it doesn’t irritate the tongue and lips. When it comes to speaking it usually only takes a day or two to adjust.

 

 

Why are retainers so important?

Retainers are important because when you get your braces off, they moved the teeth into a position they’re not naturally accustomed to. Your teeth were crooked for a reason. Most likely, your mouth and its natural habitat (your tongue, lips and cheeks) caused your teeth to go into the position they were in initially. Now we've put the teeth in almost an unnatural position, a position they didn't want to be in at first. So the teeth and mouth have to adapt to the change. The retainer keeps teeth in place as the tongue, lips and cheeks adjust to their placement. And, the teeth reorganize themselves in the bones and almost “solidify.”

How long should you wear a retainer?

We ask you to wear your retainer full-time for three months, when the teeth tend to move the quickest. You can take the retainer out to eat, to brush your teeth, and for special occasions (i.e., big dates and public speeches). But other than that, you should wear it at least 22-23 hours a day. You’ll notice if you take it out, the teeth will move quickly. After about three months, if everything looks good, we’ll switch you to nighttime wear. Then, you don’t have to worry about taking the retainer in and out at lunch, school, or work. You can just pop it in when you go to bed, take it out in the morning, and your teeth should remain in place.

Do you have to wear a retainer for the rest of your life?

If you want a 100% guarantee that your teeth won’t budge, the only option is to wear the retainer. Some people can eventually stop wearing their retainers. Others will wear retainers more, due to teeth placement and the natural environment of the mouth. After about a year of wearing the retainers at night, I tell patients, “Now it’s your turn to be the orthodontist.” When you take the retainer in and out, you want it to feel passive on your teeth. You don’t want that tight feeling to let you know your teeth moved during the day and you need to wear your retainer more.

If you have that passive feeling when taking the retainer in and out, then you can wear it less and slowly wear it off . You can go from wearing it once a week to a couple of times a month to once a month, but, I caution you to always keep it around and try it on to ensure that passive feeling isn't gone. Unfortunately, if you do see movement, it’s usually too late to fix it with the retainer.

Overall, most people are okay with wearing retainers at night. After all, why not continue wearing the retainers at night, so you know the years spent getting your teeth really nice wasn't a total waste? Let’s face it--there’s nothing worse than having a patient return, (after working so hard to have his teeth look nicer) because his teeth shifted from not wearing the retainer enough.

Feel free to contact Beecroft Orthodontics whenever you want information or help regarding any oral problem you might be experiencing.

Beecroft Orthodontics, 10472 Georgetown Dr. Fredericksburg, Virginia

Phone: 540-898-2200

Braces Treatment: Retainers Phase

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Orthodontic Expanders and Lower Jaw

Can Orthodontic Expanders be used on the Lower Teeth to Avoid Extractions?

Beecroft Orthodontics

An orthodontic expander, also commonly referred to as a "palate-widening device," is commonly used on the top teeth to create space in between the teeth. The device, which is secured around one tooth on each side of the top of the mouth, gradually creates space in the top of the teeth through the course of a few weeks or months. By spacing out the palate, the teeth have more room to shift, which is ideal for patients who plan to get braces. Because the orthodontic expanders create more room at the top of the teeth, it lowers the chances of needing to extract teeth as a method of creating space as well. Since orthodontic expanders are successfully used to create room on the upper teeth, can't the same method be used to resolve crowding with the bottom?

An orthodontist is able to use an expander device on the upper teeth because of the mid-palatal suture in the upper arch of our mouths. The palate can be expanded if there is soft cartilage in the suture. Each time the expander is activated, either at home or by an orthodontist specialist, a gap between the front teeth develops as the teeth space out. But when an expander is used on the lower arch of the teeth, there is no such suture, which doesn't allow them the chance to expand.

The lower arch of the teeth have plates, but they are not similar to that of the upper teeth. They are near the joints, which doesn't allow the palate to widen. The teeth may shift and move, but it will not be a result of a widened palate creating additional space. However, an alternative to the expander device is a a removable retainer device, which has an expansion screw built in, similar to the palate expanders. While there are several alternate ways for the lower arches of teeth, it's important to realize that this will not be shifting bones, but rather just "tipping" teeth. Some orthodontists may even attempt to place springs in the lower arch with wires on the back of the teeth to get them to space out.

If these methods aren't available to you, extraction may be your only option to create space in the lower arch. The dentist typically removes two to four teeth to create the space needed, and the area will be numbed with anesthesia beforehand. The recovery time for extracted teeth is fairly quick, and you will be sent home with gauze and pain relievers to help you get through the following days. The dentist or orthodontist may recommend you only eat soft foods in this time. Your teeth may begin to gradually move on their own once the area has healed.

If you have additional questions about expansion devices, flaring and tipping the teeth, or your options for creating space in the lower arch of your teeth, contact our orthodontist at Beecroft Orthodontics today to schedule a consultation and determine which method of treatment is the right one for you and your smile.

Beecroft Orthodontics, 10472 Georgetown Dr. Fredericksburg, Virginia

Phone: 540-898-2200

Orthodontic Expanders and Lower Jaw

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