Bracing for a Change: Switching Orthodontists

Extreme close up of hands working on orthodontic braces

Sometimes situational (but usually locational) changes are unavoidable during your time in braces, so there may come a time that you will have to switch orthodontists. And it will probably feel a little stressful.

After all, you’ve spent a lot of time with your doctor and have probably gotten to know him and the staff quite well. The thought of switching orthodontists can be a little nerve-wracking. And it is definitely not something your doctor recommends.

As daunting as it might seem, there are some proactive ways in which you can (and have to) prepare yourself for your new chapter in braces.

Let Your Doctor Know

The sooner your doctor knows, the quicker he can script out the treatment plan for your new doctor. He might also be able to make recommendations for you.

It will also help him to calculate how much of your treatment costs will be refunded to you (if you paid in advance) or how much you will still owe if you are paying as you go. The quicker you make your situation known, the less you will be charged or refunded according to your treatment schedule.

Get the Necessary Information

You will need to have all of your treatment and initial records, as well as all X-rays, ready to send to your new orthodontist.

Once you have identified your next doctor, send your information as soon as possible to expedite your treatment plan. The quicker your doctor is familiarized with your existing plan, the quicker you will get the healthy bite and winning smile.

To speed up the process of switching orthodontists, the AAO created a transfer form that allows orthodontists to share information that outlines more of your treatment’s particulars, like:

  • type of brackets, archwires, appliances and prescriptions that have been used
  • the current Treatment Plan
  • their continuing treatment recommendations
  • remaining treatment time estimates

The transfer form also informs your new orthodontist about any outstanding financial obligations for both parties.

Do Your Homework

There are more than just the logistics of record transferring to consider. You will need to make sure that the orthodontist accepts transfer patients.

Also, not all orthodontists will use the same techniques or appliances to get the same results. For example, not every orthodontist can fit lingual braces or is capable of continuing a treatment plan with these types of braces.

Find out if the doctors you are considering are:

  • currently using the same type of braces/appliances you have
  • familiar and comfortable working with your particular type of braces if they don’t use them in their regular treatments

Remember, you’ve been through the process before and have asked questions that checked all of the proper boxes for you. Dust off the same list of questions that you had (or review these that we posted about earlier) and have them ready for your initial consultation.

Know the Costs Involved

Unfortunately, you might have to pay more that you had anticipated as a result of switching orthodontists. You will have paid initial up-front costs to your first orthodontist and you may be required to do the same for your new orthodontist.

Additionally, costs often vary by region. You may move into a city which has higher associated costs.

About Orthodontic Associates

Orthodontic Associates offers all of our patients state-of-the-art appliances, as well as revolutionary services and a wealth of orthodontic experience. Whether you or a family member are choosing an orthodontist for the first time, or are looking for an experienced doctor to complete your treatment, you can choose from any of our nine convenient locations around Baltimore to set up your consultation.

We look forward to making you smile!


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