Why should we treat?
Whether the patient is ready for treatment at the initial exam or after an observation period, we start with “diagnostic records” which consist of x-rays specifically for orthodontics, 3D scan of your teeth. This information is measured and analyzed and along with information from the clinical exam forms and Dr. Cain’s diagnosis or analysis of the problems. The diagnosis includes the following consideration: soft tissue and profile, bad habits that effect the bite, the upper to lower jaw bone (skeletal) relationships in all three planes of space, the upper to lower dental relationships in all three planes of space, the amount of tooth overlap or crowding, any missing teeth, teeth that are odd shaped or the wrong size, any impacted or extra teeth, previous dental treatment, if any, and whether the jaw joint is healthy and working properly. All these various dental and orthodontic issues are considered.
We also consider any general health issues, as they may effect orthodontic treatment. We also get the “OK to treat orthodontically” approval from your dentist. For adult patients we need a full periodontal examination and report as well. For patients needing treatment from other specialists and/or follow up treatment from their general dentist, we closely communicate and coordinate treatment plans with other doctors.
Once all the diagnostic information is analyzed and treatment with other doctors is clarified, we can move on to the treatment plan. The treatment plan is a step by step written plan that progresses from starting braces and fitting for custom appliances, to description of special wire types and sizes, to rubber band wear, to how the bite will fit at the end and finally to the removal of braces and delivery of retainers. We observe our patients for two years after braces are removed and monitor wisdom teeth as needed.
Every patient has an individually created treatment plan that addresses their specific needs. Timing of interaction with other specialists or the general dentist is established. The treatment plan is presented at the time we place separators. Separators create space between teeth to make putting orthodontic bands on easier. Patients and parents have the opportunity to ask all questions to clarify the treatment plan and goals BEFORE treatment is started. We have time to communicate with patients, parents and referring dentists and other specialists to ensure we are all on the same page.
At the time the treatment plan is presented and separators placed we also ensure that all financial and insurance issues are fully understood. The treatment plan may be for early treatment (Phase I) or full treatment. It might, in rare circumstances, involve jaw surgery. It might involve an adult with a badly broken-down bite that requires complex interaction with other doctors. It may involve the use of clear aligners. Regardless of the treatment plan, we make sure you understand the big picture.