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?
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.
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