At the first visit, the patient is examined and treatment needs assessed. After a proper examination of the patients’ faces, teeth and bite, the orthodontist will discuss the clinical findings and any particular area of concern you may have. If orthodontic treatment is indicated, a broad idea of orthodontic treatment procedures including its advantages and limitations, its duration and approximate cost and the type and choice of an appliance are explained. If treatment is recommended, a complete set of diagnostic records are needed to confirm the diagnosis and formulate the treatment plan. The patient is first advised certain radiographs (x-rays). At the next appointment, the patient comes with the radiographs and impressions of his/her teeth and photographs of the face and teeth are taken. These records are studied in detail to finalize the treatment plan.
At the third visit, the various treatment options are discussed and treatment plan finalized with the patient. This is a very important appointment and in the case of patients who are minor, we expect both parents to be present. Even in the case of adult patients, anybody else close to them who is part of the decision-making process should come for this appointment. Everything concerning the treatment, including the exact treatment objectives, limitations or potential problems, the exact cost involved, precautions to be taken and alternative treatment options are discussed in detail. Patients and accompanying persons are encouraged to feel free to clear any doubts regarding the treatment.
After the patient (and his/her parents in case patient is a minor) have agreed to the treatment, they are required to give their consent by signing on an informed consent form. The treatment can then be started from the same or the next appointment.
Payments are to be done in a phased manner to make it convenient to the patient. Usually 25 – 30 % of the total cost of the treatment is to be paid at the start of the treatment. Thereafter patients can pay in quarterly installments.
The entire treatment is done in a series of planned appointments. The initial appointments when the appliance is fitted may last 45 min to an hour or slightly more. Most subsequent appointments may be about 15 minute’s duration. Once every 2-4 appointments a longer duration of 30 – 45 minutes may be required for the treatment. The patient is called more frequently (at shorter intervals) in the initial appointments and towards the end of treatment. The interval between appointments for most of the treatment period is usually 4 – 6 weeks but can be sooner or longer depending on the needs of the individual patient.
In a city like Mumbai, both children and adults lead extremely busy lives (In fact with school, tuition classes and various extracurricular activities, children seem to be busier than adults these days!). We try to accommodate our appointments as far as possible so as not to disturb our patients’ schedule. However, for some longer appointments, some adjustments may have to be made by the patients (and parents) occasionally in their schedule for us to be able to provide the highest quality treatment in an uncompromised manner.