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How to Choose an Orthodontist

Choosing an orthodontic practice to trust with the beauty of your smile or your child's smile is an important decision. Orthodontic treatment has the potential to be a long process, so you'll want to make sure you or your child are comfortable with the doctor and staff. Your orthodontic experience is something you'll remember for the rest of your life, so make sure it's something to smile about.

Selecting an orthodontist may seem like a daunting task , so it's a great idea to research the internet and ask for a recommendation from someone who has. Whether it's a friend, co-worker, or family member, they'll probably be more than happy to share their first-hand experience. Your general dentist is also a great resource to get a recommendation. If their children have had braces, ask which orthodontist they used.

Consider education and experience.

Once you have a list of a few orthodontists, do a little research. What is their educational background, where did they go to school, and what kinds of continuing education or specialty training have they had? Before you set up an evaluation with an orthodontist, make sure he or she is a licensed specialist, member of the American Association of Orthodontists and Board Certified by the American Board of Orthodontics. This ensures that they not only have proven quality clinical results, but are licensed and credentialed in the services they are providing.

Ask questions.

During your consultation, don't be afraid to ask questions. After all, that's why you're there! It's important for you to understand what type of orthodontic issues you have and the most effective ways to treat them. The more informed you are about your own dental health, the better decisions you will be able to make.

A few things to consider:

  • Who will be overseeing your treatment: the orthodontist or assistants?
  • Is the office located near your home or work to make appointments as convenient as possible?
  • Do they offer extended office hours?
  • What types of insurance does the office work with and what kind of payment options do they offer?
  • Do the orthodontist and staff seem interested in making your experience personalized or do you feel like “just a number?”

Orthodontist or general dentist?

Choosing an orthodontic specialist instead of a general dentist for your orthodontic treatment is a decision that will truly make a difference in your smile. Orthodontics is a lifetime investment in your health and confidence, and the function and appearance of your smile.

In order to become an orthodontist, a dentist must attend an additional two to three years of training at an accredited university residency program and then pass national board examinations in order to become licensed and certified as an orthodontist. This education, along with additional certifications by the Board of Orthodontics and the Edward H. Angle Society are the foundation of experience of a practice dedicated solely to orthodontics.  This gives orthodontists a unique ability to create a customized treatment plan and carry it out in a safe, predictable, and efficient manner.

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