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Moving or Changing Orthodontists
By Stephen Yang, DMD, MS
Board Certified Orthodontist
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What if I move or change orthodontists once my treatment has begun?

Changing orthodontists mid-treatment is seldom an easy task. Different orthodontists use different brackets, wires, and appliances, and even if you do find an orthodontist that uses similar brackets to your previous one, the bracket prescriptions may be different.

Before you move

Try to obtain a copy of your treatment chart and initial records. You may have to pay a small duplicating fee. Have your orthodontist fill out an AAO (American Association of Orthodontists) Transfer Form. Your orthodontist should know what that is. If the form is unavailable, have your orthodontist write down the answer to the following questions:

  1. What is the Treatment Plan?
  2. What stage of treatment are you in?
  3. What are recommendations for continuing treatment?
  4. What are the type of brackets and prescription used?
  5. What is the slot size of the brackets?
  6. What are the sizes and types of archwires currently in your mouth?
  7. What is the type of cement or bonding agent used?

After you move

After seeking recommendations, call some orthodontists and see if they accept transfer patients. If they do accept transfer patients, make an appointment for a consultation. Many orthodontists will be able to work with your original braces even if they are using different brackets in their office. However sometimes, the orthodontist may require the braces to be removed and a brand new set of braces put back on.


Another difficult part of switching orthodontists is dealing with the finances. Different offices structure their payment plans different ways. Most offices will allow you to pay the entire amount up front or pay in installments. If you pay in installments, the entire amount is broken up usually after a down payment is paid. Regards of how you set up your payment plan, when you leave your orthodontist, you will be financially responsible for the services rendered. This means that if you have seen your orthodontist to put on the braces and an additional 5 times for adjustments, you will be responsible for the cost of putting on the braces and 5 adjustment appointments.

Since putting on the braces usually takes the most time, it costs the most. Sometimes, if you have to put a significant down payment to start braces, the down payment amount will cover the cost of putting on the braces, and the monthly payments will cover the adjustments so when you leave so may not owe anything. Other times, if you do not pay a significant down payment to have the braces put on, you may owe additional money when you transfer to another office.

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