11 Questions to Ask Before Choosing Your Orthodontist
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1. Is the doctor a specialist?
A dentist can provide excellent care for your general oral health and teeth including preventive care, dental fillings and teeth whitening. However, only orthodontists are specialists in orthodontic care. Orthodontists have two to three years of additional training beyond dental school dedicated to straightening teeth. Therefore, orthodontists are more qualified than dentists are when creating a treatment plan for orthodontic treatment. You will want the doctor you choose for your orthodontic care to be an orthodontist, not just a dentist.
2. When should a child receive an orthodontic evaluation?
Many parents wait to have their child’s smile alignment evaluated when they have lost all of their baby teeth, but the American Association of Orthodontists® recommends that children receive an evaluation around age 7. Orthodontic treatment is often not needed before age 10, but there are some orthodontic problems that can be treated more effectively at a younger age. Treatment can be divided into phases. The first phase assists with jaw growth so that adult teeth can have enough space to erupt. The second phase addresses the alignment of the teeth and any bite problems. Early screening can provide better results for your child’s orthodontic treatment later.
3. Does the office get great reviews?
Always check the reviews for a practice by searching for it on social media sites like Google or Yelp. You want the best for your family, so do your research first and choose a practice and orthodontist who have received a high number of positive reviews. You may even want to choose a practice that is a little far away if it has the excellent reputation you seek. Your smile is worth it!
4. Does the office treat adults?
Teens are not the only ones who want to straighten their smiles. With the convenience of accelerated treatment and aesthetic appearance of clear aligners and clear braces, many adults are choosing to receive orthodontic care. You are never too old to get the beautiful smile of your dreams!
5. Are results guaranteed?
Orthodontic care can produce beautiful results, but a new smile alignment still needs care even after treatment is completed. It is very common for teeth to shift out of position even if a patient no longer has wisdom teeth that may push teeth out of the way. Retainers must be worn in order to keep teeth in their new positions. If retainers are not worn, more orthodontic treatment may be required in the future.
6. Is the quoted fee all inclusive?
Many offices that offer a lower cost for orthodontic treatment than other offices do may have hidden fees that will not come up until later. This may include costs for fixing broken braces, extra visits, extended treatment times, canceled appointments, clear aligner refinements and retainers, resulting in a price much higher than you were expecting to pay. Ask your orthodontic office if there are any other fees not included in the fee being quoted to you before making your decision.
7. Does the office use the latest technology?
Technology for braces, clear aligners and accelerated treatment is rapidly changing to make orthodontic treatment more reliable, more comfortable, quicker, easier and less noticeable. However, not all orthodontists have the time and energy to learn new techniques, let alone master them. You want an orthodontist who is staying on the leading edge of orthodontic technology. If an orthodontist suggests headgear or treatment that may take more than two years, you should seek another opinion.
8. What are the payment options?
Orthodontic treatment can definitely be affordable! If you cannot afford a large down payment, you should look for an office that offers zero-down, no-interest payment plans. You may also want an office that offers extended payment plans if you would like a lower monthly payment. Look for an office that accepts your insurance provider and see if they will file with your insurance provider for you to reduce your out-of-pocket cost. Inquire also if they work with flexible spending or health savings accounts that allow pre-tax payments.
9. Does the office run on time?
You will likely need to visit the orthodontic office regularly during your orthodontic treatment, meaning time taken out of your busy day frequently. You will want to find an orthodontist who respects patients’ schedules and is consistent with seeing them on time.
10. Is the office involved with the community?
Members of the community around an orthodontic practice are the people who keep it going. It is a good idea to seek an orthodontic practice that truly cares about its community by giving back to it. Look for offices that support the surrounding community in meaningful ways and do not just pay for marketing in sports programs. If an orthodontist shows compassionate care for members of their community, they will show the same care for you!
11. Does the office have a fun environment?
Orthodontic treatment should be a fun, positive experience! Look for offices with fun contests and rewards programs; this will indicate that an orthodontic team really cares about making a treatment experience a good one. Find an orthodontist who is committed to making you smile!