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A change of orthodontist halfway through a treatment – who is responsible? – response to a reader of the blog

A change of orthodontist halfway through a treatment – who is responsible? – response to a reader of the blog

Nerea, a reader of our blog, asks:

Dear Doctor,

Three years ago my orthodontic brackets were removed and then about a year ago I went back to the dentist because my teeth had moved. The problem is that the orthodontist who began the treatment sold the clinic when all I had left to do was to have the retainers put in, and the new owner told him that he had his own orthodontist who would take care of putting them in for me. Almost all of my teeth have moved, but the ones which have moved most – and now they look really awful – are the upper canines, which are way too visible. The new owner of the clinic says that they are not responsible and he wants to charge me for the change of retainer.

What do I do? Do I have to pay again? Shouldn’t he have to provide me with a solution?

Thank you.

 

Dear Nerea,

The change of one or more orthodontists in a single treatment tends to happen in clinics that belong to franchises and large chains, in the clinics of health insurance companies or in small clinics where the orthodontist only visits once a month. Changes of orthodontist do NOT usually occur when you go to a clinic where the orthodontist is the owner of the office.

A number of people and entities are involved in any one orthodontic treatment; the center where the treatment takes place, the orthodontist, the support staff, and other specialists if it is a complex case. As a result, the patient is sometimes unsure who is in charge of the treatment.

When there is a change in the orthodontist during a treatment, there is only one person responsible: the doctor in charge of the treatment with whom you signed the informed consent form, with their name and signature and your name and signature.

If another orthodontist has arrived at the office, this new orthodontist needs the patient to sign a new informed consent form with them. If the patient is not okay with this, they can demand that the original orthodontist finish their treatment. If the patient does not sign a new consent form with the new orthodontist or relieve the first orthodontist of their responsibility, the latter remains the only person responsible for the treatment. This is the theory, in practice there are infinite possibilities that may be relevant to the case. For example, if the patient does not want to travel to another office or if the owners of the office do not let the orthodontist speak to their patients.

In the national college of dentists you can obtain their details and contact them in order to finish your treatment with them.

Unfortunately, in most cases, the change between odontologists is not carried out correctly and the only person to suffer as a result is the patient. It is very important to choose a good orthodontist, given that treatments are long and at the mercy of changes of doctor, closures of the office, etc.

A transfer requires proper communication between the orthodontists. A case transfer handled correctly involves passing ALL of the information obtained in the orthodontic analysis and during the treatment to the new orthodontist, as well as the initial treatment plan and the stage the patient has reached at that point in time. You as the patient have the right to demand this information at any time so you can choose your new orthodontist.

For further information please contact us by telephone (+34) 93 832 72 81.

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