the initial consultation

At your initial consultation with an orthodontist, you and he/she will get acquainted.

What typically happens at an initial consultation?

At a consultation appointment, you’ll explain your concerns about your teeth and your smile to the orthodontist. The orthodontist will examine your teeth and other oral tissues. A staff member may take notes about what the orthodontist finds. A panoramic x-ray may be taken so that the orthodontist can see what is under your gums. Photographs are usually taken, as well.  You and your orthodontist may discuss recommended treatment,  fees for treatment and payment plans.

Should I prepare questions to ask the orthodontist?

Yes. Prepared questions will ensure you don’t forget to ask something. 

What will I learn at a consultation?

There are usually seven main take-aways from an adult’s consultation:

  • What the orthodontic problem is
  • Options to correct the problem
  • Customized Treatment goals
  • Whether teeth will need to be removed
  • Whether you will need other services to reach optimal dental health
  • An estimate on the length of orthodontic treatment
  • The estimated cost of your care

How much does a consultation cost?

Many AAO orthodontists offer initial consultations at little or no cost.

Will the orthodontist take x-rays?

It is likely a panoramic x-ray will be taken. Another type of x-ray, a cephalometric x-ray, may be taken. It is a side-view of the head.

Are x-rays really necessary?

Yes. For the orthodontist to be able to fully and accurately diagnose your orthodontic problem, x-rays are necessary. An accurate diagnosis is your orthodontist’s key to planning every step of your treatment so that you finish treatment with a healthy bite. Today’s x-ray machines emit significantly less radiation, as compared to x-ray machines of a generation ago. 

Will the exam cause me any discomfort?

No – you should experience no discomfort during the exam.

I have insurance for orthodontic treatment. Does the orthodontist take my insurance?

Ask the orthodontist at your consultation appointment. Be sure to bring your insurance card with you.

Will the orthodontist tell my dentist about the consultation and its findings?

Yes. The orthodontist will communicate the results of this visit with your dentist, including recommended next steps, if any. However, if you prefer that the dentist not be informed, the orthodontist will comply with your wishes.