Do you know what orthodontic patients worry about?

Orthodontics seems like a simple solution to a perfect smile, but oftentimes patients hesitate because they are worried about issues ranging from cost to tooth sensitivity. In order to increase patient acceptance for orthodontics and give your patients peace of mind, be prepared to discuss the most commonly asked questions about orthodontics. Here are 10 good answers to orthodontic patients’ concerns.

1. Are braces scary?

Despite how common braces are for both children and adults, patients will always get nervous prior to treatment and wonder if it is scary to have braces. The truth is braces are not scary at all and are painless to put on patients’ teeth.

While they can be initially uncomfortable until your mouth gets used to them, braces quickly begin to feel natural and many people report it feels weird to get them off.

2. Are braces easy to clean?

Just like your natural teeth, your patients need to keep their braces clean by brushing daily with an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste. Other adjunct tools that can help keep their mouth in top shape are floss picks, an oral irrigator, and a mouth rinse.

Let your patients know that if they are on top of cleaning their teeth without braces, there shouldn’t be  any problems keeping braces and teeth clean. If they need a little help, you may want to schedule an extra professional cleaning every few months to ensure hygiene is headed in the right direction.

3. Are braces easy to eat with?

Initially braces feel a bit odd to eat with, but that feeling quickly goes away. There are a few types of foods you should recommend that patients with braces avoid to prevent tooth decay and broken appliances—these include sticky candies, crunchy or hard foods, and highly sweetened foods and beverages.

4. Are braces affordable?

Braces are definitely a major financial investment in your patients’ oral health, but there are numerous ways to make it affordable. Some dental insurance plans have orthodontic benefits that pay for a portion of braces. This helps reduce your patients’ out-of-pocket costs.

Some offices offer in-office plans or payment plans using Care Credit and other financing services. You can also help your patients explore their Flexible Savings Account and find out if they are eligible for reimbursement for orthodontics. Similarly, some patients can opt for a Health Savings Account on a high-deductible insurance plan.

5. Are braces noticeable?

There are several types of braces you might recommend depending on your patient’s needs and budget. Traditional metal braces are the most noticeable. Ceramic tooth-colored braces or lingual braces are more discreet, but have their limitations and drawbacks.

Either way, make it clear to your patients that displaying braces are a sign you care about improving your smile and oral health. It is a symbol of self-investment and they can rest assured that when their braces come off, they will be more than satisfied with their new smile.

6. Are braces okay to do with any dentist?

Your patients should go to a dentist they trust and know has their best interests in mind. For a patient, going to their pediatric or general dentist for orthodontics has numerous benefits. Aside from the fact that they go to the office for their yearly cleaning visits, they can receive orthodontic care from a dentist they know and trust, who has knowledge of their dental history, and has an already established relationship with them.

Many dentists invest in their careers by taking orthodontic courses for general dentists so they can better serve their patients by understanding how to treat malocclusions. It is important to inform your patients how you consistently take continuing education and complete orthodontic certificate courses to better understand diagnosis and treatment using straight wire orthodontics.

7. Are braces time consuming?

Braces are not an overnight solution, but treatment time depends on your patient’s malocclusion. A mild to moderate malocclusion can often be treated in 18 to 24 months with regular orthodontic visits.

8. Are braces okay if you grind your teeth?

If your patient grinds their teeth, they can still get braces, but you want to find the root cause of their grinding and clenching to avoid problems during orthodontic treatment. This is primarily because there could be a serious issue that causes the grinding, like sleep apnea. For other patients grinding can be caused by anxiety or medications.

Grinding teeth can cause tooth damage and breakage of dental restorations, so if you plan to treat your patients with braces, do a thorough clinical examination and detailed history to find out why they are grinding prior to starting treatment.

9. Are braces needed for both arches?

Some patients are only concerned with the position of one or two teeth and are interested in single arch treatment. Try explaining to patients that in most cases, both arches need treatment to properly level and align teeth.

While there may be only one or two noticeable issues to a patient, there are typically more problems that need correction, like spacing, bite problems, and alignment. Also, the cost of braces is usually the same whether you treat one or both arches, so it is best to do comprehensive treatment.

10. Are braces done after treatment is complete?

Patients often assume when their braces come off, their treatment is over, but truthfully, an orthodontic journey is a lifetime responsibility of wearing retainers. Once you help your patient achieve their perfect smile, it is equally important to stress the necessity of orthodontic retention so the teeth don’t relapse and go back to their original positions. After spending much time and money on braces, retainers are necessary to maintain optimal results.

There are endless questions your patients have before committing to braces, but you can put your patients minds at ease by explaining that braces are a routine procedure that yields impressive results. Most importantly, let your patients know their concerns are valid and common and you’re here for them at every step of their orthodontic journey. If you’re looking to provide orthodontic care to your patients, Williams GP Orthodontic Seminars offers a range of courses to give you the skills to provide straight wire orthodontics.