How to Choose an Orthodontist

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How to Choose an Orthodontist

Choosing orthodontists don’t need to be a daunting task. Look for several qualifications and characteristics to help you narrow down the choices of orthodontists available.

You may wish to choose orthodontists close to your home. In most cases, you will need to make several visits to your chosen professional’s office depending on the type of procedure you are having done. Choose from professionals in a location close to your home or work to make these frequent visits as convenient as possible.

A friend, co-worker or relative may have recently had orthodontic work done. Check with this person to see what they thought about their experience. Some questions to ask the person who received services are:

  • Do you like your orthodontist’s work?
  • Would you recommend this specialist to your friends and family?
  • Would you go back to this orthodontic specialist again?
  • How well did your doctor explain the expectations of the procedure?
  • How friendly was the staff?

Also, orthodontists should be able to provide you with a few patient’s references regarding the work they have done.

What is the Difference between General Dentists and Orthodontists?

Both general dentists and orthodontists help people have optimal oral health. Dentists treat and prevent illnesses of the teeth, gums, oral nerves and the jaw. In contrast, orthodontists specialize in treating individuals with problems with their bite and occlusions. They also straighten teeth for both cosmetic and oral health reasons. Orthodontists also use devices such as wires, brackets, and other devices to straighten teeth and correct bites.

Do Orthodontists Offer the Latest Technologies?

There is no substitute for using skilled orthodontists. But even the best-skilled services can be improved by using the latest technology available. The orthodontic field continues to find ways to improve services while making the patient more comfortable. Some technologies also shorten the length of time it takes to achieve maximum results. Some of the latest technologies that have improved procedures recently are:

  • Digital X-rays. Digital X-rays offer a fast solution for dental x-rays. They also offer the most definitive view of the teeth possible.
  • 3D imaging. 3D imaging allows the specialist to see each tooth using a 3 D image. From this image, a mold or cast can be made of the teeth.

Does He or She Offer the Latest Treatments?

Metal Braces

Orthodontists should offer the latest treatment methods. Traditionally, metal wires and brackets have been used to straighten teeth. For those with moderate to severe problems, wires and brackets are still the right choice for the best treatment to straighten teeth. Modern metal brackets have several improvements that make them more comfortable to wear. For instance, does your specialist offer heat activated archwires? These devices move your teeth at a faster rate than traditional brackets.

Lingual Brackets

Lingual brackets are applied to the backs of teeth. Lingual brackets work in a similar way to metal braces. They have the great advantage of being behind the teeth, so they don’t show.

Ceramic Brackets

Ceramic brackets use ceramic instead of metal brackets. Ceramic brackets match the teeth, so they are less visible when worn. The wires for ceramic brackets match the teeth, as well, making the use of ceramic brackets almost invisible.


The Invisalign process uses a set of trays to move your teeth gradually. A mold is taken of your teeth, and several sets of clear trays are made to move your teeth gently. The biggest plus of using this method is that the clear trays are invisible.

What Payment Plans does Your Orthodontic Specialist Offer?

Orthodontic treatments can pay for by insurance. If your insurance doesn’t completely pay for your procedure, check with your specialist to see what types of payment options are available.

Is Your Prospective Orthodontia Specialist Board Certified?

Orthodontists become an American Board of Orthodontics board certified by taking both a written and clinical exam. Once becoming board certified in orthodontics, the specialist must stay up to date in their profession, because he or she will need to take a renewal exam before their certification is renewed.

Where Did You Obtain Your Orthodontics Education?

Orthodontists must take two to three years of classes after receiving a DDS degree. Every orthodontist’s school has its requirements. When selecting from a variety of orthodontists, find out where the individual went to school. Then check to make sure the school offers degrees in this specialty area.

What Services Do You Offer?

While all orthodontists are dentists, not all orthodontists treat all dental problems. Ask a prospective orthodontic specialist if your dental work needs to be done elsewhere, or if they can perform such additional procedures that may be needed such as root canals, extractions or fillings.

Do you follow the Standard of Care outlined by the American Association of Orthodontists Special Practice Guidelines? Please explain.

Ask a prospective orthodontic professional about their standard of care. You can gain an excellent idea of the type of treatment you can expect from the way orthodontists follow the American Association of Orthodontists Special Practice guidelines and Standard of Care.

Please explain the scope of the treatment plan you propose, and the possible complications if I do not receive treatment now ?

Once you choose an orthodontist, you will need to make an appointment for a consultation. While you are there, please explain any symptoms you may be experiencing. Your dentist can share your dental history wit orthodontists to give them much needed background information. Get a diagnosis, and then have the doctor explain what treatment they recommend. Also, have the doctor explain any complications that might arise if you don’t have the prescribed orthodontia done. You may have the choice of several options. The right orthodontist will take the time to help you decide which path to treatment to take to find the best result for your situation.

How Long Will it Take to Complete the Proposed Treatment?

Some treatments take longer than others. Make sure you choose the treatment to correct your dental problem. Sometimes the right treatment takes longer that you’d like, but the extra time is necessary. And sometimes you can have a faster treatment that works just as well as a procedure that takes longer. Your orthodontist can explain the prospective length of treatment for your braces, Invisalign trays or other orthodontia experience you may choose.

Do you do the work proposed for your patients, or do associates do some or all of the work? If an associate will complete the work done, what is their level of experience and training?

Check out the level of education and experience of anyone who may be working on your teeth to ensure their qualifications.

What are your office hours and what days are you open?

Orthodontist’s offices hours of operation and days off vary. Make sure any orthodontists you choose is open at a time that is convenient for you.

How to chose an orthodontist?

Choose a qualified professional for your oral health needs. You will be spending a good deal of time in this specialist’s office. Select an office with friendly, knowledgeable professionals who can help you have the best smile possible.