Written by Dr. Nupur Shrirao, BDS, MDS, FAAD | Medically Reviewed by Dr. Shaista Salam, BDS; Dr. Zein El Hammouz, DDS,
1. What Makes A Good Orthodontist?
2. Additional Things To Consider Before Choosing An Orthodontist
3. Which Orthodontists To Avoid?
4. Orthodontist First Consultation: What To Expect?
5. Questions To Ask At An Orthodontist Consultation
They say your smile is the window to your soul! However, if you have crowded, crooked, or spaced-out teeth, it is natural to feel conscious when you smile. An orthodontist is a doctor specializing in teeth straightening treatments and can beautify your smile. But with so many of them offering their services, the question remains, “ how to choose an orthodontist?
Finding a good orthodontist can be a bit tricky. Below are some key things you should keep in mind while searching for the right orthodontist.
Orthodontists receive 2-3 years of training after they finish dental school and an additional few years to become specialists in their chosen treatment modality. Undoubtedly, advanced training and a high level of education make a good orthodontist. Along with this, online patient reviews or testimonials can also give a clear picture of the kind of work they do. Make sure to look at before and after photos of previous patients to understand whether your chosen orthodontist can treat a wide variety of cases.
The best orthodontist is one who, in addition to the proper education and training, has enough clinical experience, translating into outstanding clinical skills. This is a critical factor, especially if you are considering aligners, as they work differently than regular braces. The longer the orthodontist has been practicing and continuously learning, the better you can expect their service to be (1).
A good orthodontist will never scare patients or make them feel rushed or pressured to take up the treatment. Communicating clearly with empathy and care results in a much more compliant and educated patient, ultimately leading to better treatment outcomes (2). In addition, patients understand their treatment protocols better and are, thus, happier with their treatment progress.
Good customer service, like easy scheduling and rescheduling of appointments, reminders for follow-ups, and quick contact options in emergencies, are equally important when choosing an orthodontist.
Look for an orthodontist with friendly, helpful, and compassionate staff who are willing to care for you like a person rather than just a set of teeth!
Here are some additional things you should consider when contemplating how to choose an orthodontist:
The distance and connectivity of your orthodontic clinic play a significant role in its selection. Choosing an orthodontist whose clinic is situated nearby and can be easily commuted to is wise. Find out the clinic’s working hours, as many orthodontists offer special evening or weekend appointments. This makes it easier for patients to commute from work and other commitments (3).
Good orthodontic treatment can get heavy on the pocket. But that shouldn't stop you from getting a beautiful smile! Choose an orthodontist who considers insurance coverage or offers flexible financing and payment plans. Many clinics also offer additional deals and discounts when you pre-purchase treatment packages online. So, be sure to look out for that!
Orthodontics has come a long way, and there’s a wide variety of treatment options to choose from, like metal braces, transparent braces and clear aligners. To save time, it is better to determine beforehand whether your orthodontist offers the treatment option you are interested in.
It may be wise to check if your orthodontist offers free or paid consultations. Some orthodontists charge exorbitant consultation fees, whereas others may offer consultations at a lower charge. Be sure to take this into account before deciding which orthodontist to finally choose.
Now that you know how to choose an orthodontist for yourself, let’s talk about some types of orthodontists you should be wary of:
Most orthodontists are trained in basic orthodontic care, but some may not have the expertise to treat complex cases using your preferred treatment modality. Hence, they may be hesitant to clearly share their treatment plans with you (4).
Do you feel clueless when interacting with your orthodontist? It may be because they are unable to communicate clearly or answer questions about your treatment confidently. In such a case, it is better to change your orthodontist.
Only dentists who complete an accredited orthodontic residency program after dental school are accepted for membership into their respective country’s orthodontic association (5). Whether you are considering clear aligners or traditional braces, opt for a certified orthodontist to ensure your best smile!
Once you learn how to choose an orthodontist, the next question is, what happens when you visit them for the first time? Let’s break it down!
The first thing your orthodontist will ask you is your chief complaint. This is a crucial question for both you and your doctor. Your entire treatment plan will be based on your chief complaint and the problem you want to treat.
Then, he will proceed to take a complete medical history to evaluate your overall health and decide whether you are fit to receive orthodontic treatment. If needed, he may require a clearance certificate from your treating physician if you have a medical condition, complication, or syndrome. He will also inquire about your dental history, dietary habits, oral habits, and at-home oral hygiene practices (6).
Your check-up will include a complete intra-oral and extra-oral examination. In the intra-oral exam, your orthodontist will examine the oral soft tissues, such as the gums, cheeks, throat, tonsils, etc., and hard tissues, such as the teeth. In the extra-oral exam, your facial profile, facial symmetry, and smile lines will be evaluated.
After the examination, your intra-oral and extra-oral photographs will be clicked for record keeping. Full mouth X-rays called ‘OPGs’ and ‘Lateral Cephalograms’ may be taken. These will evaluate the teeth roots, the condition of the underlying bone and any missing, impacted, or extra teeth present in your mouth (7).
Using the data gathered from your clinical examination, your orthodontist will give you a diagnosis and explain your orthodontic condition.
With your final diagnosis in hand, your orthodontist will tell you about the different treatment options they offer and suggest which one is best suited for your case (8).
Depending upon the condition of your oral health, you may need additional treatments. For example, your gums may be inflamed due to calculus buildup. And you may require professional cleaning or scaling (9). If there is insufficient space in your tooth arches, you may require tooth extractions or IPR to create space for tooth movements.
Your orthodontist will share the approximate cost of the entire treatment and the estimated treatment time.
Your first appointment will typically end with many questions from your side. A good orthodontist will patiently answer all your questions about the treatment plan (10).
Oftentimes, the first orthodontic consultation can be an overwhelming experience for you. You may simply blank out in the question-and-answer phase – not knowing what to ask! A great way to avoid this is to prepare a list of questions ahead of time, such as:
These questions will be answered by your orthodontist, depending on your treatment plan and goals.
Ultimately, finding a good orthodontist may take a bit of work. But rest assured, because Eon Aligner can easily help you find a good orthodontist in your locality to give you your perfect smile. All you have to do is fill in this form and our team will get back to you!