6 Things to Consider When Searching for an Orthodontist
Just like everything you purchase in life, you need to shop around a bit before choosing an orthodontist. It isn’t uncommon for people to need the orthodontist for a range of reasons, the most common being braces. Orthodontists are specialists in facial and dental irregularities.
Whether a need for an orthodontist is for you or your children, you need to make sure that you research so that you get the best treatment available. Most orthodontists will have a free or very reduced rate consultation first session. This consultation allows you to get to know them a little bit and decide if they are the right orthodontist for you and your family.
What Is An Orthodontist?
There are some differences between an orthodontist and a dentist. Although both help you to maintain your oral health, they work in slightly different ways. A dentist has a broad skill set. This skill set will include teeth, gums, nerves, and jaw. An orthodontist specializes within that range and focuses on occlusion, straightness of teeth, and correcting bites.
An orthodontist requires additional schooling in their dental specialty. Typically if a patient has misaligned teeth, could have improvements made to their bite, or needs braces fitted or corrected, they will be required to see an orthodontist.
A dentist will cover:
• Root canal
• Gum disease
• Teeth whitening
• Tooth decay
An orthodontist will cover:
• Crowded teeth
• Misaligned teeth
• Additional jaw issues
Here are six things to consider when searching for an orthodontist.
You can tell a lot just from the waiting area. Check out the other people, the condition of the seats, how clean the reception area is. Any waiting times should be made apparent when you arrive, and if there are waiting times – why? Is the orthodontist overbooked, or has there been an emergency?
Are the staff friendly and accommodating, or short in tone?
Once inside the office, have a look around. There should be no mess, no dust, and certainly no grime. The office is likely to smell like disinfectant, which is a good sign. What is the assistant doing? Are all of the tools sterilized and carefully put away? Ideally, ahead of any appointment with your orthodontist, you will be in a relaxed and calm waiting room, with friendly staff, comfortable seats and no long wait time.
2. Experience and Education
Every orthodontist is going to have a different level of education and experience. Some education establishments are known for their outstanding programs, and others aren’t. While education can’t tell you everything you need to know about your orthodontist, you might care about those things. You can ask about experience and education at your first consultation. Like with most everything, the longer something has been practiced, the better your treatment is likely to be. However, there is nothing wrong with checking out newer practices and newly qualified orthodontists.
Children and many adults have some trepidation around the dentist. It helps to have an orthodontist that will take the time to explain to you or your children exactly what is going to happen. The right orthodontist will have the time to make sure their patients understand that process and are comfortable. This process means that the patient has realistic expectations about the treatment, during and after the appointment.
Creating a patient and orthodontist relationship will put your mind at ease, and mean future appointments don’t feel scary at all. It is becoming more common for dentists and orthodontists to have specialized training to ensure that a child (or adult with dental fear) is happy and calm throughout the entire appointment.
Depending on the country you live in, you will be aware of the cost of orthodontic treatment. Your orthodontist will likely make you aware of the price that may be attached to yours or your child’s treatment. Orthodontic treatment can run into the thousands for a single patient. It is imperative that you discuss your payment options, and if they accept your insurance. You’ll also need to be aware of what your insurance does and does not cover in terms of orthotic treatments. Many orthodontists offer discounts and combined treatment costs for specific procedures. Ask them about it!
There are so many variations of the treatment that is available due to the increase in orthodontic technology. Many orthodontists offer a range of treatment options that will fit the needs of their patients.
If you need a specific treatment type, then you should inquire about the availability before you commit to an orthodontist. Some orthodontists will be specialists for metal braces, others for Invisalign, and others may be specialists in clear ceramic braces. You must ensure you have the best range of options available to you. You can discuss your options and what is best with your orthodontist.
A great thing about dentistry and orthodontists is that people are not shy when they share their experiences. If a patient has felt that they didn’t get the right treatment or that their orthodontist wasn’t as friendly as they could have been, they will likely share this. In the age of the internet, we are more likely to find a wide range of places that share opinions and ratings. Trustpilot, Facebook, Yelp, and Wellistic have the option for people to leave a review about their service that they received. There will usually be a mix of reviews, try to read these with some objectivity.
There are many dental associations and awards available. You will often find information about these on the website of the orthodontist. Try to get familiar with the range and prestige of these awards and associations. Before and after photos are often useful for seeing the work that the orthodontists in the area have done previously.
When choosing an orthodontist, it is important to spend some time on research—finding the orthodontist that approaches patient care in a way that will make you feel comfortable and local enough to get to with ease. Consider consulting with many orthodontists before settling on one for you and your family.
Get blog posts like these and other tips and resources along with local wellness events in your area, right in your inbox. Subscribe to the Wellistic Newsletter!