Orthodontic treatment is a specialized treatment to align teeth and correct imperfections; it is sometimes considered cosmetic, while other treatments are medical in nature. An orthodontist is responsible for improving the appearance and function of teeth to support better life quality.
Most people are referred to an orthodontist by a dentist or a medical professional, but that doesn’t mean you need to stick with your assigned practitioner. If you have moved home or have an issue with the practitioner or treatment, you can transfer to a different office.
Are you ready to take charge of your orthodontic journey and find the perfect fit for your dental needs? Discover the freedom to choose the orthodontist that truly meets your expectations and ensures a seamless transfer of treatment. Explore your options and make a well-informed decision for a brighter and healthier smile!
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Reasons for Changing Orthodontist
There are a few reasons that a patient may want to change their orthodontist. Some reasons include dissatisfaction with the current treatment, changes in insurance coverage or affordability, or relocation to a different part of the state or country. Because of the fairly in-depth process involved in changing orthodontists, it’s not a decision to take lightly.
Some of the most common reasons to change your orthodontist are treatment dissatisfaction (including unexpected pain), a difference of opinion, or a clash of personalities. It’s sensible to get a second opinion before switching, as the treatment styles might be the same or similar.
When it comes to orthodontic treatment, the end result typically justifies the often high costs involved, but prices do vary quite dramatically based on your treatment and orthodontist. Braces are an excellent example; their cost can differ radically depending on the office, which might lead to a change.
Researching Potential New Orthodontists
If you have decided to change your orthodontist, it’s time for research. Most orthodontists operate to the same high standards, but small variations in practices, offices, and personalities can justify a change. Below you can find some helpful ways to identify a new orthodontist and ensure their service is trustworthy and relevant to your ongoing treatment.
Look into their credentials: The first thing you must do when searching for a new orthodontist is look into their qualifications and credentials, including their experience. Check their website’s About page, contact them by phone, or check with the governing body.
Meet the orthodontist: If you’re changing your orthodontist because your personalities clash, it’s vital to meet with the new potential orthodontist first to see if they’re more aligned with you. It’s always helpful to meet the orthodontist in person before starting treatment.
Read patient reviews: Reviews from patients are often the most honest way to learn about the way the orthodontist works. Third-party reviews will give you a true sense of their practice and style. It’s still a good idea to meet the orthodontist in person, though – what works for one person may not work for you.
Research their treatments: Qualified orthodontists tend to provide the same treatment across the board, but some will have more experience in some areas than others. If you have a particular dental issue needing treatment, it can help to identify the right person for the work.
Your medical insurance should cover dental treatment at the orthodontist. Still, there are differences in expenses that can affect the cost of your insurance premiums; switching orthodontists can cost you money. On the other hand, you might be due a refund for treatment.
For example, if you need braces fitted, orthodontists incur certain expenses; these include impressions, x-rays, and new records. Switching orthodontists during your treatment means these expenses must be incurred again, increasing the treatment’s overall cost.
Consult with the Current Orthodontist
The decision to transition from one orthodontist to another is not easy; there are financial considerations, dental and personal factors, but it’s important if you feel uncomfortable or think your treatment can be more successful elsewhere. Always discuss the issues with the office.
The first step is consulting with your current orthodontist about your treatment plan and personal concerns. If you have made your decision already, there must be open communication channels between yourself and the orthodontists to ensure the treatment plan is progressed smoothly.
The Transition Process
Transferring your orthodontic treatment is not uncommon, and there are some reliable steps to follow. Start by consulting with your current office and orthodontist to agree that transferring is the best option for your treatment. Once that’s been confirmed, you’ll need to find a new orthodontist in your area.
When you have met your new orthodontist and checked they accept transfers, it’s time to transfer the necessary records – your new office can do this for you. Finally, contact your medical insurance company to advise them of the change and create a new financial plan for treatment.
|Notify Current Orthodontist
|Schedule New Patient Exam
|American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) Transfer Form
Impact on Orthodontic Treatment
One of the most common treatments carried out by an orthodontist is teeth alignment with dental braces, so it’s a useful way to demonstrate how a timeline might be affected when you change orthodontist. Making the switch can delay your treatment regardless of its stage.
If you are in the early stages of dental alignment, the initial appointments could be disrupted, delaying important processes like taking impressions and x-rays. Naturally, the longer it takes to start your treatment, the longer you wear braces; but it’s important to find the right office for you.
Someone in the middle of their dental treatment might also experience a delay that affects the overall timeline. During the transition period, for instance, a patient might miss an appointment to tighten braces, delaying alignment. Again, it’s important to be comfortable with the process.
While changing your orthodontist is rare, it can happen, and it is always an option if you think you would benefit from a different office. Some reasons for changing your orthodontist include moving to a different part of the country, lack of progress with your treatment, or personal differences that impact your quality of life. It’s fine to raise these issues with your orthodontist.
Remember, the process takes time and effort and can delay your treatment significantly. To change your orthodontist, you’ll need to transfer your dental records and contact your medical insurance. You’ll also need to consult your current orthodontist. Be aware of the challenges and the benefits of switching your orthodontist mid-treatment.
Dr. Joel Gluck has practiced orthodontics since 1983 when he opened his own office in Nashville. He earned his undergraduate degree at Washington University in St. Louis, and his dental degree at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Gluck then completed an orthodontic specialty residency at the University of Michigan, one of the top five orthodontic training residencies in the country. He also wrote an original thesis and received a Master of Science degree.