As spring slowly turns into summer, life certainly looks different than it did last year around this time—or even a few months ago! Guidelines and recommendations continue to change from day to day, and most of us are trying to create a new routine around working, learning, and shopping from home.
Here at Timock Family Orthodontics, we have been doing our part to flatten the curve by closing our office except for emergencies. If you are a current orthodontic patient, that may have you worried about how all of these unforeseen changes might affect your treatment plan. Or perhaps you were just getting ready to take the leap into orthodontic treatment when things began shutting down. Either way, our team is still here for you!
As mandated closures and “safer at home” orders began rolling out across the country recently, healthcare providers have had to find new and sometimes inventive ways to stay connected to patients and families. By embracing virtual technology, we’ve been able to continue caring for the orthodontic needs of our community from a socially safe distance! Checking in with our established patients and conducting new patient consultations virtually means that we can help flatten the curve while meeting patients wherever they are on their orthodontic journey.
Because telemedicine is relatively new in many areas, you may be unsure of what to expect from a virtual visit if you’ve never had one before. Fortunately, the process is quite simple! You’ll begin by visiting our official homepage, which can be found at https://timockfamilyortho.com/. Click the red banner with COVID-19 information, then choose whether you are an existing patient or a new patient. From there, simply follow the prompts on the screen before submitting your photos and information!
Tips for taking the best photos
Clear photographs are necessary for both check-up visits and new patient consultations, and you may be a little nervous about how to accomplish this. No need to worry! We’ve included an example of all the photos we need on both virtual appointment pages. We’ve also embedded an excellent short video that will give you all the information you need to get the best shots possible.These photos will typically include:
- a shot of you facing forward, not smiling
- a shot of you facing forward, smiling
- a profile shot
- front bite
- right bite
- left bite
- upper teeth
- lower teeth
Our video explains each one of these in more detail, and you will also see them demonstrated. If you’re currently wearing elastics, have them on your braces when you take photos of your right and left bite so we can check that you’re wearing them properly. This allows our doctors to provide you with any necessary feedback.
Once everything you’ve submitted has been reviewed by Dr. Timock or Dr. Wire, we’ll reach out to you to set up a virtual visit or consultation. During your appointment, you’ll be able to discuss any concerns you have, what our recommendations are, and any additional input our doctors have.
Why Timock Family Orthodontics is embracing virtual services
Your health and safety have always been a top priority for us, and that hasn’t changed! By switching over to virtual “visits,” we’re able to keep your treatment plan on track even while our office is closed, and virtual consultations let you take the first step towards a beautiful new smile without having to leave the house.
Meeting in this way can also be helpful if you’ve been worried about experiencing an orthodontic emergency while our offices are closed. If you’re unsure about what constitutes a true orthodontic emergency, a virtual appointment with us can clarify all the criteria for you! You’ll be able to describe your concerns and share photos of any problems you’re having with your teeth or appliance. Our doctors will then be able to provide you with expert guidance on how to proceed.
Many times, we’ll be able to assess any damage and make suggestions with nothing more than a virtual visit. Several non-emergencies can be treated from home, and we’re happy to walk you through any available remedies. If you do happen to have a genuine emergency, we’ll schedule a visit for you to see one of our doctors in the office.
Maintaining your oral health from home
While we’re talking about orthodontic emergencies, many are accidental and unavoidable but there’s still plenty you can do to minimize your general risk factors. For current orthodontic patients, that means following all of the recommendations we give you! Even with our offices currently closed, you can take excellent care of your smile and your appliance during this time by:
- avoiding all sticky and crunchy foods if you’re in braces, since they can easily damage the brackets and wires
- brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time with a fluoridated toothpaste
- flossing thoroughly every night before bed
- using tools like ortho picks, interdental brushes, and water flossers if you need extra help cleaning hard to reach areas
- wearing a mouthguard if you’re still practicing any sports at home
- informing our office of any loose or broken wires or brackets so we can advise you on what to do next
- keeping all Invisalign aligners clean and safe by brushing them gently and putting them in a case when they’re not in your mouth
We’re still here for you and your smile
Virtual visits and consultations give us the ability to remain accessible to patients in our community while still doing our part to flatten the curve. For more information on our virtual services, get in touch and we’ll be happy to walk you through the way they work. With these services available to current and new patients, social distancing doesn’t have to stop your smile in its tracks! Many patients worry about how to get clear, effective photos to send to us before their virtual visit. There’s no need to stress yourself out about this! You’ll see an example of all the photos we need on both virtual appointment pages. We’ve also embedded an excellent short video that will give you all the information you need to take the best shots possible.