Can You Switch Orthodontists When You Have Braces?

Can You Switch Orthodontists When You Have Braces?

Orthodontic treatment is a long-term process, and ideally, patients remain with their original orthodontist the whole time. But many life changes can happen during that time as well. New job offers. Out-of-state moves. Or other changes that require a move to a new orthodontist.  Although changing orthodontists mid-treatment does involve several important steps, many people are able to do it successfully, and sometimes they even find themselves happier in the long run. Here’s what you need to know.


Common reasons for switching orthodontists mid-treatment

Every person’s story is different, and everyone’s life moves in its own direction. When it comes to changing orthodontists, the reasons vary from one person to the next. In general, here are some common reasons for switching orthodontists mid-treatment:

  • Patient moves away 
  • Orthodontist retires
  • Orthodontist sells the practice
  • Unsuccessful patient/practitioner relationship
  • Conflicts with scheduling, treatment, or office policies


In a military town like San Diego, it’s not uncommon for patients to arrive at a new orthodontist practice when they already have their braces or to leave their original orthodontist mid-treatment.  Ideally, a patient would form a solid relationship with the orthodontist who puts their braces on and celebrate with that orthodontist when the braces come off as well. It doesn’t always work out that way, but fortunately, there are some very clear steps that can help make a smooth transition to a new orthodontist. 


How to switch to a new orthodontist when you have braces

If you’re going to switch to a new orthodontist, the best way to ensure a smooth transition is to follow these guidelines:


Start as early as possible

As soon as you know you’re going to move or switch practices, get the process started. Even though you may be nervous or daunted by the idea of taking the steps, the earlier you start, the more time you and your practitioners will have to get everything in place. 


Inform your current orthodontist

Whether or not you have a good relationship with your current orthodontist, breaking the news to them that you’re leaving may be the most difficult part of this process.  But the sooner you do it, the sooner they’ll be able to start working out the details of your treatment plan, finances, and paperwork.


Carefully research new orthodontic practices

If you’re just switching practices in the town where you live, you can start by getting recommendations from people you already know, reading online reviews, and meeting new practitioners in person. But if you’re leaving town, you’ll need extra time to do research about practices in your new town. You can start by using resources available on the American Association of Orthodontists (AA0) website, reading reviews, and calling practitioners for phone consultations.


Complete orthodontic transfer forms 

You’ll need to complete official orthodontic transfer forms and other paperwork early enough so that all your records are transferred to your new orthodontist. It’s important that the new practice has this information before you’re due for your next appointment. 


Prepare for the transition

During the time between your last appointment with your original orthodontist and your first appointment with your new orthodontist, you’ll need to continue to take care of your teeth and braces.  So be sure to stock up on wax, rubberbands, toothpaste, floss, and whatever else you may need during the transition. 


Remain adaptable to change

It’s important to remember that every orthodontist has their own way of practicing. They all have their own mannerisms, their own approach, their own style.  The same goes for their office staff.  If you really loved your original orthodontist’s office, you may want your new orthodontist’s practice to be exactly the same, but having that kind of expectation can make the transition a little bumpy. As long as you remain adaptable to change and stay open to the way this particular practice is run, you have a better chance of having a smooth transition. 


Looking for a new orthodontist? University Dental is here for you

If you’re looking for a new orthodontist, University Dental can help. We’ve helped countless patients improve their smile with traditional braces, Invisalign, and other teeth-straightening methods. Most of our patients are with us from beginning to end, but many come in mid-treatment, and we help provide a comfortable transition and expert orthodontic treatment that leads to gorgeous, radiant smiles.  For more information or to schedule an orthodontic consultation, give us a call at (619) 473-2565 today.