Treatment Planning and Consultation
Following the records appointment, the orthodontist will evaluate the information obtained and develop a course of treatment. Although some treatment options may have been discussed at the initial exam, a plan cannot be finalized until all the information has been reviewed.
The consultation appointment is usually scheduled a few weeks following the records appointment. This provides the time necessary to receive the models back from the lab, as well as time for the orthodontist to prepare a treatment plan. The appointment is usually about ½ hour long and will include discussion of the following: diagnosis, treatment plan, alternate treatment options, risks and complications, informed consent, and financial arrangements.
Due to the nature of the topics discussed, a parent or legal guardian will need to be present if the patient is a minor. Besides the legal necessity, a parent will likely need to know the proposed treatment options and risks to make an informed decision about treatment.
The diagnosis will generally include a discussion of the problems with the bite, crowding, spaces, impacted and missing teeth, overbite, rotations and misalignment, symmetry issues, tooth size differences, jaw position, and growth concerns etc. These should be discussed in some detail, referencing the photographs, x-rays, and models of the teeth taken during the records appointment.
The treatment plan is designed to address the issues discussed in the diagnosis. The specific appliances and treatment recommendations, the length of treatment, and the need for cooperation by the patient are also discussed.
Alternative treatment options, including non-treatment, will also be discussed. It is important to be aware of all the options prior to deciding on a specific treatment course. There may be significant advantages and disadvantages to the various options, which may help in the decision-making process (click for more detail regarding risks and limitations). Some patients may have many options, whereas others may have only a couple. This will vary depending on the circumstances involved with each patient. If there is any confusion, ask the orthodontist for clarification.
The final item discussed involves the financial arrangements. A contract that contains the fee and payment information will need to be discussed, agreed on, and then signed by the patient or parent.