Advice on Relocating when a Family Member is in Braces

Sometimes families need to relocate while one of their family members is in the middle of orthodontic treatment. If the move is a significant distance, they likely will have to find a new orthodontist to continue their treatment. In my experience, the majority of these “transfer” scenarios proceed smoothly. There are times though, that this transition does not go as planned for the family. My goal in writing this article is to educate and inform families about what to expect and what to look for when anticipating a move (whether coming into my practice, or moving away from Castle Rock). These tips can make this transition a much easier process.

skyThere are two areas that I will discuss; 1) What to expect regarding treatment and finding the “right” new orthodontist, and 2) financial concerns and expectations in the transfer. I will tackle the former first. Whether your treatment has just begun, or whether you are close to having your braces removed, make sure to inform your current orthodontist of your move as far in advance as possible. At Meadows Orthodontics (and at most practices), we set up a special final appointment that includes the taking of final records. This includes taking photos, digital impressions, and radiographs as needed. I also prepare a transfer form (created by the American Association of Orthodontists -AAO) to send to your new orthodontist. This informs your new doc of your original concerns, diagnosis, types of braces and appliances used, recommendations for continued care, and an estimate of remaining time left in treatment.
I also assist in finding a new orthodontist if possible. I usually build close relationships with my patients, and I want them to find someone that they can trust, and that provides an exceptional level of care. If I do not know an orthodontist in your new area, the AAO provides a data base of orthodontists with information on their practice preferences, education, years of experience, and Board Certification status. Finally, I want to make sure that your braces are as secure and “trouble-proof” as possible for your move.

We also want the financial aspect of your move to be as stress free as possible. I like having a specific financial transfer meeting with parents, so that we can explain how we prorate or refund a percentage of your investment (if it was paid in full), or when to stop payments if the treatment was financed. Years ago the AAO provided a formula to help determine the fair amount to reimburse patients that are transferring or moving. This formula is no longer published (likely due to individual case variation and differing financial opinions of individual practitioners), but I still use it as a consistent guideline for what is “fair” for the majority of cases (It is important to be aware of this, especially at the start of treatment if you are paying in full). If there is any “grey area”, I tend to err in the patient’s favor, as maintaining great relationships is more important to my business than “nickel and diming” will ever be.

For patients that are moving to the Castle Rock area, we recommend that, as described above, you complete and resolve any financial issues with your current/former orthodontic office before you move. It is important to understand what percentage remains with your or your child’s treatment, and that you are comfortable with the agreed upon financial arrangement. Most orthodontists will gladly discuss your case details with one another (with proper HIPPA compliance) to ensure a smooth transition, but resolving and closing out your previous financial arrangement (and reimbursements if applicable) upon moving are solely between you and your previous office.

On our part, we will do our best to make your transition as easy as possible. When you arrive at our office after your move, we will perform a full examination, and will base our fees to finish your treatment on several factors. The most important factor is how long it will take to complete your case, but may also be influenced by case difficulty, appliances or braces that may need to be replaced, and how fairly we believe you were financially “sent on your way” at your previous location. With the vast majority of cases there is a very similar estimate of remaining treatment goals, and we are on our way to getting you finished! In the rare case that we believe you have considerable more time remaining than your previous orthodontist estimated, I will explain in depth why this is the case, and may recommend a second or third opinion, just so you feel at ease with the treatment that still remains.
Regarding your insurance benefits, be sure to let your original orthodontist and insurance carrier know when you are moving and when your last appointment will be with your original orthodontist. Without this information, your insurance carrier may continue to send payments to an office where you or your child is no longer at! (The above information is applicable to braces, clear braces, and Invisalign)

As always, if you have any questions, please call us at Meadows Orthodontics and we will be glad to help you!

Dan Rejman, D.D.S., M.S.
Owner, Meadows Orthodontics, Castle Rock, CO.

Dr. Dan Rejman is Board Certified by the American Board of Orthodontists, and was recently voted Best Orthodontist in Castle Rock 2014 (Castle Rock News Press), and Douglas County’s finest Orthodontist 2014 (Douglas County Living).