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What To Expect From Your Orthodontic Consultation

April 15th, 2024

The beginning of your orthodontic journey can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking commitment. The first step toward achieving a beautiful, healthy smile is a complimentary consultation with Dr. Ahl or Dr. O’Connor. Here's a glimpse of what you can expect:

1. Getting Acquainted: The goal of your first visit is to become acquainted with our doctors and our team. We’ll review your dental and medical history, discuss your concerns and expectations, and conduct a thorough examination of your teeth, jaws, and bite.

2. Diagnostic Tests: To formulate an accurate treatment plan, we’ll take digital X-rays and photographs of your teeth. These tools help assess the current alignment of your teeth and determine the most suitable treatment options.

3. Discussion of Treatment Options: Once the doctor has assessed your dental condition, they will discuss potential treatment options tailored to your needs. Whether it's traditional braces, clear aligners, or other appliances, they'll explain the pros and cons of each option and address any questions or apprehensions you may have.

4. Treatment Plan and Timeline: After weighing your preferences and considering the complexity of your case, the doctor will outline a comprehensive treatment plan along with an estimated timeline. While every case is unique, they'll provide you with a rough idea of how long your treatment may take and what milestones to expect along the way.

5. Financial Considerations: Orthodontic treatment involves financial planning. During this complimentary consultation, the orthodontic team will discuss the cost of treatment, available payment options, and whether your insurance covers any portion of the expenses. This transparency helps you make informed decisions regarding your investment. 

6. Next Steps: Before leaving your complimentary consultation, you'll have the option to begin treatment the same day, or review the quote before scheduling your follow-up visits.

Embarking on your orthodontic journey signifies a commitment to improving your oral health and enhancing your confidence. While the process may seem daunting initially, rest assured that our orthodontic team is here to guide you every step of the way!

For more information about orthodontic services, or to speak with one of our board-certified specialists, contact us online or call 302-678-3000.

Can I Start Orthodontic Treatment After Chemotherapy?

March 11th, 2024

Starting orthodontic treatment after chemotherapy is generally possible, but it's essential to consider the overall health of the patient and consult with both an orthodontist and the oncologist or medical team managing the chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can have systemic effects on the body, including the oral cavity, and it's crucial to ensure that the patient has recovered sufficiently before beginning orthodontic treatment.

Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Consultation with your Oncologist: Before starting any orthodontic treatment, it's crucial to consult with the oncologist who managed the chemotherapy. They can provide insights into the patient's overall health, immune system status, and any specific considerations related to the chemotherapy.
  2. Oral Health Assessment: Chemotherapy can affect the oral cavity, leading to issues such as mucositis, xerostomia (dry mouth), and increased susceptibility to infections. An assessment of the patient's oral health is necessary to determine if they are ready for orthodontic treatment.
  3. Timing of Orthodontic Treatment: The timing of orthodontic treatment should be coordinated with the Oncologist to ensure that the patient is in a stable and healthy condition. Starting treatment too soon after chemotherapy may not be advisable if the patient is still dealing with side effects or complications.
  4. Orthodontic Treatment Planning: The orthodontist will need to carefully plan the treatment based on the individual's oral health, treatment goals, and any specific considerations related to their medical history.
  5. Communication Between Healthcare Providers: It's essential for the orthodontist and oncologist to communicate and coordinate care. This ensures that both aspects of the patient's health are considered in the treatment plan.

Always keep in mind that each individual's case is unique, and decisions about starting orthodontic treatment after chemotherapy should be made on a case-by-case basis. The health and well-being of the patient should be the top priority, and a collaborative approach involving both the orthodontic and medical teams is crucial.

For more information about orthodontic services, or to speak with one of our board-certified specialists, contact us online or call 302-678-3000.

Will Thumb Sucking Cause My Child to Need Braces?

February 12th, 2024

Thumb sucking is a common habit among infants and young children and is generally considered normal during the early developmental stages. Most children naturally stop thumb sucking on their own by the age of 4 or 5. However, if the habit persists beyond this age, it can potentially lead to dental issues that may require orthodontic treatment.

Persistent thumb sucking can contribute to the following orthodontic problems:

  1. Malocclusion: Thumb sucking can influence the alignment of the teeth and the development of the jaw. Prolonged and intense sucking may result in an open bite, where the front teeth don't meet properly when the mouth is closed.
  2. Overbite or Overjet: Thumb sucking may contribute to the development of an overbite (protrusion of upper front teeth over the lower front teeth) or an overjet (protrusion of upper front teeth ahead of the lower front teeth).
  3. Changes in Palate Shape: The pressure from the thumb can affect the shape of the palate, leading to a narrower upper jaw.

It's important to note that not all children who suck their thumbs will develop these issues, and the severity of the habit can influence its impact on dental development. Genetics, pacifier use, and other factors also play a role in dental health.

If you are concerned about your child's thumb-sucking habit and its potential impact on their dental development, it's advisable to consult with a pediatric dentist or orthodontist. They can assess your child's oral health, provide guidance on how to address the habit, and monitor dental development over time. Early intervention may be recommended if there are signs of developing orthodontic issues.

In some cases, orthodontic treatment, such as braces, may be necessary to correct dental misalignments that result from prolonged thumb sucking. However, the specific treatment plan will depend on the individual circumstances of each child.

For more information about orthodontic services, or to speak with one of our board-certified specialists, contact us online or call 302-678-3000.

Do I Need Dental Insurance to Get Orthodontic Treatment?

January 9th, 2024

Dental insurance can help offset the costs of orthodontic treatment, but it's not required in order to start treatment. Whether you need dental insurance for orthodontic treatment depends on your financial situation, the type of orthodontic treatment required, and the available options for coverage.

Here are some considerations:

  1. Dental Insurance Coverage: Many dental insurance plans do provide coverage for orthodontic treatment, but the extent of coverage can vary. Some plans cover a percentage of the costs, while others may have a maximum dollar amount or a waiting period before orthodontic benefits become available. It's essential to review the details of your insurance policy to understand the coverage specifics.
  2. Out-of-Pocket Costs: Even with dental insurance, there may be out-of-pocket costs associated with orthodontic treatment. This can include copayments, deductibles, and any costs exceeding the maximum coverage limit.
  3. Orthodontic Payment Plans: Our orthodontic office offers payment plans to help spread the cost of treatment over time, making orthodontic care more affordable for individuals without insurance or with limited coverage.
  4. Discount Plans: Some individuals may opt for dental discount plans rather than traditional insurance. These plans typically involve paying an annual fee to access discounted rates on dental services, including orthodontics, from participating providers.
  5. Self-Payment: Some individuals choose to pay for orthodontic treatment entirely out of pocket, especially if the treatment is relatively straightforward or if they don't have dental insurance coverage.

We believe finances shouldn’t stand in the way of a healthy, confident smile. Consultations with our office are complimentary! During the initial consultation we will take digital X-rays and pictures for the doctor to review with you. Following the evaluation, consultation, and treatment recommendation, our treatment coordinator will discuss the cost of your treatment and each available payment option, so you can determine the best fit for your budget. Many discounts are available to patients who serve in the military, teach, are first responders, or work in the medical field. We’re in-network with most insurances and have a refer-a-friend program. We will help you utilize your flexible spending account to the fullest, and we accept CareCredit.

For more information about orthodontic services, or to speak with one of our board-certified specialists, contact us online or call 302-678-3000.