6 Tips For Choosing a Great Orthodontist

Choosing an orthodontist is a big deal! Why? Because the orthodontist is usually the first professional your child encounters who will change the way he/she looks. Also, the results of orthodontic treatment can differ dramatically depending on the treatment plan, training, skill level, and attentiveness to detail of the doctor.

When it comes to your child, you want the best! But how do you know that’s what you’re getting when you walk into an office? We’ve assembled a list of the top 6 tips for choosing an orthodontist, so you can be sure you’re getting excellent care.

  1. Be Sure to Choose an Orthodontic Specialist. Orthodontists are dentists who receive 2-3 additional years of specialized education beyond dental school to become experts in aligning teeth and jaws. Thus, they have far more experience than your family dentist (who receives very little orthodontic training in dental school). Many people are unaware that any dentist is legally able to offer braces or Invisalign. However, your child will be best served by seeing an orthodontic specialist, especially a member of the American Association of Orthodontists.
  2. Find out Who Your Dentist Uses for His / Her Own Family’s Orthodontic Treatment. Your dentist has likely seen results from different orthodontists, and can guide you in the right direction. And you can be sure the dentist is choosing the best orthodontist for his / her own family when the time comes. Ask who their kids went to!
  3. Read Online Orthodontist Reviews—Especially Those Which Discuss Satisfaction with Results. This can be tricky, because nearly all orthodontists will display great online reviews. So how can you distinguish among them? Look specifically for reviews which discuss reviewers’ satisfaction with the final result—their smile! Although people may rave about the orthodontist’s coffee bar, or the friendliness of the staff, or the fun prizes they have—we believe the most important thing is the aesthetics of the smile and healthiness of the bite (how the teeth connect and function together).
  4. Ask the Orthodontist for Before/After Photos of Cases Similar to Your Child’s. Any orthodontist should be able to show you results of other patients’ treatments who had the same problem as your child. How do they look? Does the orthodontist use modern techniques to achieve great results?
  5. Look for Clues Regarding the Orthodontist’s Attentiveness to Detail. Great orthodontic treatment requires a lot of attention to detail. You should expect to receive a thorough exam and treatment plan at your initial consultation. It might be helpful to visit different orthodontists and get multiple opinions if you’re not comfortable with the treatment proposed or the attention to detail of the office. You may also want to ask whether the orthodontist sees the patients personally at each appointment. Does the orthodontist allow parents to come to the treatment area and ask questions during treatment? Does the orthodontist straighten all of the teeth, including the back molars? Many people are surprised to learn that many orthodontists don’t put braces on the back teeth or correct “crossbites” of these teeth, which can cause long-term bite issues.
  6. Find Out What is Included in the Treatment Fee. Some offices charge additionally if orthodontic treatment takes longer than expected or goes beyond the estimated treatment length. This is not a good arrangement! Be sure the office does not have that policy. Does the orthodontist offer permanent retainers in addition to removable ones? Are there additional fees for broken brackets or missed appointments? Find out what, if any, additional fees you could be charged beyond the original treatment fee.

If you follow these tips, we are confident you’ll find a great orthodontist who can get you the amazing smile and healthy bite you deserve! If you are looking for an excellent orthodontist in the Bakersfield, California area, we recommend you check out Dr. Cardall.