by Christopher Piehler

Christopher Piehler

After 18 months or so, I’m coming to the end of my second go-round of orthodontic treatment. (Once I have before-and-after pictures, I will make sure to share.) Unlike when I was a kid, though, I’m not completely focused on finally, finally being finished. I guess because I’m paying this time, I’m more intent on making sure that every tooth is placed in such a way that I will have a stunning smile well into my dotage. As an observer of the orthodontic trade, I can’t help but think back on my experience and try to draw some conclusions from it. And since I have now spent more time in braces than I did in college, I feel that I am uniquely qualified to present my Orthodontic Patient’s Bill of Rights.

Article 1: The patient (or parent) should always understand the clinical choices his orthodontist has made and should feel confident that this approach will give the patient the best possible results.

Article 2: The patient should know, as soon as possible, how long his treatment is expected to last. The patient should also know that lack of compliance can extend treatment time.

Article 3: The patient should get regular progress reports directly from the orthodontist.

Article 4: The patient should know what he can do and what the orthodontist can do to relieve any pain that treatment might cause.

Article 5: The patient should be greeted by name at the front desk and in the operatory.

To read the scientific background for Article 5, search for “” in our online archives.

Article 6: The patient should never spend more than 15 minutes in the waiting room without being given a clear reason why.

Article 7: The patient should never be unattended in a treatment chair for more than 5 minutes.

Article 8: When the patient is in the treatment chair, he should have the undivided attention of the person who is treating him. Assistants and orthodontists may talk to one another about the patient’s treatment, but not about what they’re doing that weekend.

Article 9: If the orthodontist changes the appointment interval, the patient should know why.

What’s in your Orthodontic Patient’s Bill of Rights? Please write or call and let me know.

Christopher Piehler