How to Increase Adult Orthodontic Case Acceptance

In regards to crooked teeth and misaligned bites, many adults feel that their time to take corrective action has passed. It does not have to be this way though! By properly educating our adult patients, we can increase our orthodontic case conversions rates with them drastically.

Without further ado, here’s how to increase adult orthodontic case acceptance.

The Problem-Promise Approach

As Robert P. Levin, DDS describes in his article about case acceptance, what treatment coordinators and orthodontists need to be focusing on are the problems that are getting addressed by orthodontic treatment and the steps that will get the patient to the promised result.

It is important to speak of factors concerning what is important to the patient. While dental professionals may focus on fixing issues of angulation, occlusion, and misalignment, the average adult seeking treatment is usually much more concerned with how treatment will affect visual appearances and with what health implications could arise down the road if treatment is not accepted.

So, what do patients want to have promised? That at the end of the day, orthodontic treatment will leave them with a beautiful and healthy smile. When communicating this with the patient, make sure to step away from clinical terms and to describe the benefits in a way that will come off as attractive and desirable.

Share the Idea

When your patient is in the office for an exam or re-care visit, you or a tech should bring up the thought of orthodontic treatment in a low-pressure way. By offering up friendly suggestions as to how gum health, worn teeth, and bad bites can be corrected, you are opening the potential for a conversation.

Once the patient expresses interest in what you have said, it is possible to move on to recommending treatment options.

Diagnose the Issue

It is important to begin planning a case with the Esthetics-Function-Structure-Biology (EFSB) and the FGTP design for esthetic treatment. It is essential to analyze these procedures so that you can create collaboratively work with supporting providers to come up with a cohesive diagnosis. Doing proper research will allow you to present comprehensive options to your patient.


Before discussing findings with the patient, take the time to consult with your colleagues. You will want to come to an agreement on the benefits of orthodontics for this particular case.  Collaborating with colleagues will allow you to become familiar with the orthodontic part of the treatment plan. It is helpful to make a list of the benefits the patient will receive through orthodontia.

During this step, you will determine if the patient will need full braces or a more limited plan. Make sure to indicate precisely what teeth will be affected and how.


It is hard for many people to understand the possible changes that can occur if they are not able to visualize them. Luckily, there are many ways that we can paint an accurate picture of what will happen during and after orthodontic treatment.

The diagnostic set-up/wax-up creations, along with the pictures you have taken, will allow you to set a visual scene for your patient.  The wax-up and pictures are precious tools that can be used to communicate your opinion for the treatment plan effectively and will enable you to create a vision of the future for your patient.

You may want to consider patient education videos because they are an excellent way to give real-life examples of what to expect from treatment.  Furthermore, check-lists can illustrate goals and additional benefits. Consider creating materials that the patient can take home and refer back to while deciding to pursue orthodontic treatment.

Make Support Clear

You want your patient to know that you will be there to help them through their treatment journey. You also want to indicate that you and all of the other specialists familiar with the case are determined to work together to achieve the best results possible.

When patients know their options and know that they have a team of professionals dedicated to achieving treatment goals, they are more likely to feel confident in the process and not automatically to dismiss the possibility of pursuing orthodontic corrective action.

Be Familiar with Alternatives

The orthodontist has the unique opportunity to present to the patient that there is a well-connected team of providers who are working together to achieve the best results possible. Knowing that providers are working harmoniously to ensure satisfactory results can significantly boost patient confidence.

Verify that you are clear on what the patient is hoping to achieve through treatment by having a discussion using his/her own terms and repeating goals back to show that you are all working together to complete the same mission. Commend the patient for all of the time and effort that must go into making such important health decisions.

Once you are sure that the patient has an accurate understanding of the treatment plan, go over what alternatives there may be to orthodontics. This step is important because it gives you the opportunity to have an open discussion with the patient and to address what can and cannot improve with orthodontics.

Keep Current

Many patients are often surprised to learn how many advancements have come along in regards orthodontic techniques.  Take the time to go over different bracket options such as Invisalign, clear, and lingual. Make sure to emphasize that there are people of all ages all over the world receiving orthodontic treatment.

Once you have given all available information, ease the mind of the patient by reiterating that choosing orthodontic treatment is a personal decision where there is not a clear-cut right or wrong answer. Ultimately, it is up to each person to determine what is the best option for his or her health both now and in the future.



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