Steps In Formulating an Orthodontic Treatment Plan


Orthodontic Examination and Orthodontic Records

The first step in determining your treatment plan is learning as much about your orthodontic condition as possible. This begins with an orthodontic examination, during which your teeth and jaw alignment will be examined. Your orthodontist will then collect a set of orthodontic records, which may include plaster or virtual imaging models of your teeth, X-rays or 3 dimensional images of your head, teeth and jaw joints, photographs and your medical-dental history.



If you have a pre-existing medical condition that requires pre-medication, the medical/dental health history will be your orthodontist’s only source of information. Be sure you have completed the health questionnaire completely and correctly as well as provided the office with any medical changes. Your orthodontist, in consultation with your physician(s), will recommend medications. It will remain your responsibility to follow your medical recommendations throughout your orthodontic treatment.



Although uncommon, allergies to medicines and treatment-related materials may occur during orthodontic treatment. Please make your orthodontist aware of known allergies so your orthodontist may take steps to minimize your exposure. If your allergies are unknown to you, then it is impossible to predict any reaction. You may be more prone to an allergic reaction during orthodontic treatment if you are allergic to certain foods or have other allergies. If an allergy occurs during your treatment, then medical management, alternative treatment or discontinuation of treatment may be necessary.


General Medical Condition

General medical conditions including disorders of the bone, hormones, or blood can influence and even prevent successful orthodontic treatment. Many prescription and non –prescription drugs, including bisphosphonates, can affect your treatment. Please inform your orthodontist of any changes in your general medical condition.


Dental Checkups and Care

Before orthodontic treatment begins, it will be necessary to visit your family dentist for a checkup and any necessary dental work. Once orthodontic therapy begins, and throughout the course of orthodontic treatment, you will be expected to continue to see you family dentist for regular three to six month checkups and routine care. Routine dental care will help ensure the best possible results from your orthodontic therapy.


Planning and Consultation

Your orthodontist will design a treatment plan, and discuss with you treatment options and alternatives (including no treatment) and any significant risks or limitations to your treatment. You will have an opportunity to discuss the points raised in this booklet with your orthodontist and he/she will request your informed consent to be signed before implementing the treatment plan.


Changes in Original Treatment Plan

There are some instances when you and your orthodontist may need to change the treatment plan. Poor patient cooperation, periodontal problems, adverse growth and changes in the patient’s or parent’s desires, may necessitate a change in the goals and direction of treatment. Alternatives to orthodontic treatment may vary with the individual’s specific problem, and prosthetic solutions or limited orthodontic treatment may be considerations. These changes may lengthen your treatment time and incur additional fees. Excellent communication with your orthodontist is essential in understanding your treatment progress and ensuring your desires are met.


Teeth, Mouth and Jaw Problems

Discuss with your orthodontist any potential teeth, mouth or jaw problems before you start orthodontic treatment. Sometimes, oral surgery to remove teeth is necessary with orthodontic treatment, especially to correct severe crowding of teeth or jaw imbalances. As part of your new aesthetic and/or functional occlusion, crowns, bonding, veneers, or implants may be needed to complete your final bite. These would be done by your general dentist and could incur separate charges.


Treatment Options

In some cases, there are alternate treatment plans with different results. You need to understand the differences. Please ask questions. Your orthodontist will recommend the most suitable treatment he/she feels is best for you and explain the advantages and disadvantages of any treatment options that may meet your needs. Ideal results may be impossible to achieve based on pre-existing conditions. Orthodontics is most often an elective process. You will be asked to make a choice about your treatment. An alternative treatment plan may be a partial treatment with limited treatment results. Another treatment option is to receive no treatment. If you are considering no treatment, ask your orthodontist what the risks are to your teeth and supporting tissue.