This is a time for orthodontists to listen to patient concerns and to provide an orthodontic examination. The orthodontist will likely be able to indicate whether or not treatment is needed and if needed, when the best time to start treatment would be. Typical steps prior to beginning treatment include gathering orthodontic records to provide specific information to tailor a treatment plan for that patient (see orthodontic records below).
Often, this is a time when the doctor and staff discuss fees for orthodontic care, general payment options, and insurance benefits.
Diagnostic records include x-rays, photographs, and impressions made of the teeth. These “molds” are used to develop models for closer examination of the teeth and how the upper and lower teeth relate to each other. X-rays are taken to look at the root structure of the teeth and how the jaw bones and teeth relate to each other. At times additional imaging of the temporomandibular joints is helpful. Typically facial photographs and intra-oral photographs are taken to evaluate facial proportions, facial aesthetics and the health of the teeth and gums. These diagnostic records collectively enable the orthodontist to develop an appropriate treatment plan for the patient.