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The Cost of an Orthodontic Consultation: What to Expect and How Much It May Cost

The Cost of an Orthodontic Consultation: What to Expect and How Much It May Cost

Is there a cost to an orthodontic examination or consultation?

Are you looking for an orthodontic office but are wondering what the cost would be for a consultation? Are you looking to get more information about what consultations are like and what they include? Not all orthodontic offices conduct their consultations the same way. In this article, we discuss the popular consultation styles and their costs, what can you expect at a consultation, and how our practice conducts our consultations.

Are consultations complimentary or is there a cost?

In many orthodontic offices, the initial examination of a patient is often complementary. This clinical exam can sometimes be rudimentary and short without a lot of detail. They may give a general overview and an indication of whether treatment will consist of braces, aligners, or first phases of treatment. Occasionally, some offices may include a complimentary x-ray as well, such as a panoramic radiograph or cephalometric radiograph. If x-rays are not included, you might expect a charge of 75-150 dollars for whatever x-ray is required.

What are initial consultations like?

Almost all initial consultations consist of meeting with an orthodontist. The orthodontist will have you sit back in the operatory chair and he or she will look in your mouth in order to diagnose your specific dental malocclusions. They may also have you fill out a dental history form to get an idea of any symptoms or concerns you may have about your teeth. After spending some time inspecting your teeth, the orthodontist may present to you a number of options that they think would be good for you.

The options that are presented to you may be limited or they be inclusive of all sorts of different options and techniques. Again, not all orthodontic practices are the same here. Some practices will go over every technology and also offer ways in which to do things on a cheaper budget. Other practices may only have two or three options that fit different budgets but are less custom to the patient and your needs.

Some orthodontic practices prefer initial consultations to be more in the style of a presentation. If an office uses a specific form of treatment or a company that they want to use on most of their patients, they may assess your teeth and then show you a video of the specific product that they prefer using. While these presentations can be helpful, it is more of a marketing style and may not include all the same options that other practices include. Overall, it is important to keep in mind that orthodontic evaluations and consultations are NOT the same at every practice.

How Consultations At Skarin Orthodontics Are Different

In other practices, such as Skarin Orthodontics, the initial examination, or screening, is an in-depth complementary clinical exam. This means, while some practices spend a few minutes looking into your mouth and giving a general estimate of options, Dr. Skarin spends upwards of 45 minutes assessing your teeth all-inclusively of as many treatment options as possible for your teeth. Every treatment outcome is explained in as much detail as possible within the limits of the exam itself. Potential fees to the possible treatments are also normally mentioned as well as potential lengths of treatment and retention options. It is not uncommon for people to walk away from their initial consultation with us being pleasantly surprised about how much information is covered. We want our patients to be well informed and we want our patients to have all the information they need to make the best decisions as possible, which is why we go into so much detail.

In comparison to other offices, their initial consultations are usually much shorter in time and much less in-depth. Think of it as seeing a doctor for an initial visit and then having to come back at a later appointment to do more in-depth visit. Many offices are streamlining their consultations to make them as quick and efficient as they can, and oftentimes, dental assistants will spend more time with the patient at the consultation than the orthodontist. At Skarin Orthodontics, Dr. Skarin believes that every minute of your time should be spent with him, which is why he does not use dental assistants. For him, talking with his patients to understand their goals and needs, and making sure he is as in-depth as possible is the most important aspect to him.

What happens after the initial screening or consultation?

Following the initial screening, if full treatment is something the patient or parents desire, full records are taken in order to do a comprehensive diagnosis of the problems. This is also when in-depth treatment plans are created for your unique needs.

Frequently, treatment problems can be anticipated with growth, development, and certain musculo-skeletal tendencies. Ancillary treatment options can be employed to overcome these issues if they become a problem during treatment. However, the records needed and the in-depth presentation of all the options with all of your records taken comes with a fee, and are usually included in the cost of the full treatment that is spread out over the course of treatment.

If full treatment is not chosen, then the cost of the records and full consultation could be anywhere between three hundred to perhaps nearly a thousand, depending on whether 3-D orthognathic surgical radiographs and other diagnostic tools are required in addition to the usual set of models, photographs, cephalometric analyses, dental radiographs and the other evaluation tools needed in a full work-up. These records can certainly be transferred to other offices for second and third opinions, but will most likely need to be paid in full prior to their transfer.

This synopsis of the cost of a full-treatment orthodontic consultation is an approximation of what could be anticipated when looking at the fees for a full evaluation. Obviously, every office has their own cost structure and we encourage you to make your own inquiry as to what the costs to you will be before the records are taken. Please note that some diagnostic tests could be covered by your annually renewing dental coverage, saving some of the lifetime orthodontic benefits for the actual orthodontic treatment claim.

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