Although some individuals may shy away from visiting the dentist, an orthodontist is entirely different. These oral specialists are the ones you turn to when you need to straighten crooked teeth, fix problematic jaw alignments, and more. But how to choose an orthodontist that will provide the services you need and want can be challenging.
Why Choose Orthodontic Treatment
Although all orthodontists are certified dentists, only 5% of general dentists carry this designation. Therefore, searching for a specialist to help you with bite alignments or repositioning teeth can take you further than your local dentist.
Orthodontists are trained professionals in dental health with additional knowledge and education to treat issues like moving teeth and jaw alignment while providing short- and long-term care.
Some common reasons why patients need an orthodontist include:
- Crooked teeth
- Protruding or misaligned teeth
- Missing teeth that can affect jaw function and alignment
An orthodontist can change how people feel about their teeth and restore self-confidence with a healthy, attractive smile.
How To Choose an Orthodontist
Every certified orthodontist receives the proper education and training to treat their patients. However, it’s beneficial for you to do some research when choosing an orthodontist. This way, you will find the best fit for you and your oral health needs.
Some elements to consider when searching for an orthodontist include:
- Available services
- Finance options
- Free consultations
- Hours of operation
- Reviews and recommendations
- Training and schooling
- Treatment options for children and adults
Naturally, some orthodontists will offer more services than others. The right orthodontist will provide the oral health services you want, such as braces, Invisalign, or other essential treatments. Each patient will have unique needs, and a professional orthodontist should be capable of handling these various circumstances.
Another critical aspect of orthodontic care is follow-up services after completing your treatment. Some professionals will charge an additional fee for patients who visit the office later, while others include all future check-ups in the original service costs.
Your orthodontic treatment cost can be high, especially if you don’t have extended healthcare coverage from a private insurance plan. Therefore, when choosing an orthodontist, potential patients should inquire about possible payment options, like deferred payment plans, insurance claims, and other finance terms available. This way, you won’t have to worry about a delay in treatment due to finances.
In addition, many orthodontists will have capabilities for direct billing insurance companies, while others require payment upfront so you can receive reimbursements.
If you have a private insurance plan, talk to the support staff and see if they can bill directly. This method will save you the hassle of paying ahead of time, submitting receipts, and waiting for reimbursements for your treatment.
It can be beneficial when deciding on an orthodontist to talk to several professionals that offer free consultations. In addition, it’s always a good idea to get a second opinion, especially when you spend a lot of money fixing your smile.
This way, you can ensure that the professional you choose can provide the services you need and that you are aware of the costs before starting treatment. Comparing prices with several offices can also help you pinpoint any unusually inexpensive estimates that may indicate a potential problem later.
Hours of Operation
When browsing for an orthodontic specialist that offers professional treatments for a healthy smile, it’s essential that you explore their hours of operation for appointments. When receiving orthodontic treatment, you will make regularly scheduled visits that can take time from work or school.
Some patients will need to visit an office with extended hours so they won’t need extra time away from the office or miss necessary school hours.
Additionally, a professional should have the flexibility to fit you in when minor emergencies come up, such as a broken wire or loose bracket on your braces. These small details can ensure that your oral treatment stays on track and is convenient for your schedule.
Routine visits to your orthodontist can become inconvenient if it isn’t in a great location. It can make your life easier by finding orthodontics offices that are simple to access, close to home, or offers benefits like ample patient parking.
You and your orthodontist will see a lot of each other during your treatment plan, so choosing one that isn’t nearby can add unnecessary travel time and fuel costs to your budget.
Reviews and Recommendations
Doing extensive research on available orthodontists should include reading patient reviews and seeking recommendations from friends and family members. Word of mouth is a great advertising tool, so be sure to ask around at work or school or talk to someone who has received orthodontic care. Often, this is the best method for getting honest reviews of these professionals.
Training and Schooling
Education and training are a big part of becoming an orthodontist. You want to ensure that the dentist providing oral treatment has the proper knowledge of orthodontics. Any certified orthodontist should belong to the American Board of Orthodontists. A great orthodontist will happily share with you what school they attended when you ask.
Treatment Options for Children and Adults
If you have a child who needs orthodontic care, finding a good orthodontist that can provide services to children is a must. Youngsters will have different oral health needs, especially since their jaw and teeth are still developing. These circumstances will require the best orthodontist to care for children with changing needs.
Alternatively, adults should seek a trained professional to handle their needs. Therefore, an orthodontist’s office specializing in kids might have limited experience handling oral care for grown adults.
Choosing an Orthodontist Best for Your Needs
If you want to know how to choose an orthodontist, it’s helpful to have a clear idea of your needs and goals when beginning your search for these specialists. This way, you can use your checklist to ask questions of potential dentists and compare each one to make the best choice.