Nine Things to Consider When Your Child Needs Braces

When looking for an orthodontist for your child, teen, or even yourself as an adult, your journey typically begins with a complimentary screening exam. Before you visit our office, or other providers, here are Nine Things to Consider that can help guide your decision on who to trust with the outcome of your smile and jaw function.

We are honored when someone chooses to visit our office for an evaluation. We pledge to answer your questions so that you leave with a clear understanding of your orthodontic needs and the fees associated with treatment. We accept most insurance plans and as a service to our patients, we will file and process your insurance claim.

1. Education and Experience

Qualifications and Experience
After graduating from dental school, orthodontists complete 2-3 additional years of education. Orthodontists are the specifically educated experts in the dental field to straighten teeth and align jaws.
The additional training that an orthodontist receives means they have mastered the physics of tooth movement and understand the biology of facial development and guidance. Admission in an orthodontic residency program is extremely competitive – orthodontists were usually at the top of their dental class. Once in practice, the doctor and their staff devote all their time attention toward orthodontic care. This higher efficiency leads to more affordability and value.

2. Treatment Options

Treatment Options
Not all providers offer a full range of options for straightening teeth, and not all are suitable for your case. Look for an orthodontist with options – clear aligners, and different styles of brackets and techniques for braces.
Developments in orthodontic technology means there is a range of treatment methods available. They may not all be suitable for your case – there’s more involved than straightening of teeth. An orthodontist considers jaw alignment and more at your initial consultation, so you can consider outcomes prior to starting treatment. Before booking a consultation, look at your orthodontic practice’s website to find out what treatments are offered. This will enable you to ask informed questions about your options when you are in the office.

3. Availability

Find out how often the office is open and how frequently you will see the doctor. Some providers work in multiple locations, and can’t be two places at once.
While undergoing orthodontic treatment, you’ll have regular appointments with your orthodontist (every six to eight weeks), as well as your usual appointments with your dentist. However, in between times, in the unlikely event you encounter a problem, you want to know that help and support is there. Some providers operate satellite offices, so make sure those locations are within a distance you are willing to drive for appointments.

4. Previous Work

Previous Work
Ask people you know if they chose the practice for their orthodontic care, and if they would recommend the doctor and his team.
There’s nothing more valuable than a positive review from a trusted friend to see if the quality of treatment is what you are looking for. You can also read reviews online, and look at before and after photos on their website or during your initial consultation.

5. Industry Recognition

Industry Recognition
Selecting a provider who is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) to assure that you have chosen an industry-recognized provider.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) accepts members who are dental specialists with at least 2-3 years of advanced specialty education in orthodontics in a university-based program accredited by the American Dental Association. If you are interested in Invisalign treatment, check to see what status your orthodontist and his/her practice holds. Their provider status is an indication of the number of cases they consistently complete.

6. Cost and Finance

Cost and Finance
Before you embark on treatment, make sure you have a full quote which details all fees involved.
Orthodontic treatment is a significant financial investment but most orthodontists understand this and provide payment plans to help with the cost. Some offer in-practice no-interest financing. Every case is unique, including yours, so be sure to make a decision based on the cost for your treatment. Most orthodontists offer a first visit at no charge, so you can find out what the doctor recommends and your out-of-pocket costs. Make sure your quote details all fees involved, including retention post-treatment (retainers).

7. Consultations

Most orthodontists offer a free consultation to provide you with a quote and plan for how they will approach your case. Not all doctors take the same approach, so visit a few to compare.
Embarking on orthodontic treatment isn’t a decision to be made lightly. You need to be fully informed about cost, treatment options and the impact on your lifestyle. Most orthodontists will offer a FREE consultation, during which they’ll review your medical history, talk to you about your treatment objectives, assess your orthodontic needs, take photographs and x-rays and provide you with a treatment plan, which will include a recommendation on the type of treatment you could most benefit from, along with the cost and duration of treatment.

8. Relationships With Dentists

Relationships With Dentists
Ask your dentist to recommend an orthodontist. Or, if you do not have a regular dentist, ask your orthodontist to recommend one to you.
Although you will be under the care of your orthodontist throughout your treatment, your dentist also needs to be kept informed. Find out what the relationship is between your orthodontist and your dentist. It should be one of open communication, and they should be working together to ensure you get the best treatment possible. While your orthodontist will be responsible for your appliance, your dentist will continue to be responsible for your overall oral hygiene, so both will be involved with your treatment.

9. Clinic Environment

Clinic Environment
Do you feel comfortable and relaxed in the office, and taken care of by everyone on the orthodontic team?
On average, orthodontic treatment lasts between 12 and 24 months. This is a reasonable length of time to be attending appointments so you want to be comfortable and relaxed in the office. If your orthodontist offers a free consultation, in addition to getting information on your treatment options, this is also an opportunity for you to get a taste of the practice. Are you warmly welcomed by reception? Do you feel at ease in the treatment area? Are the staff friendly and approachable? Make sure the clinic is a place you are happy to spend time in and a place where you feel supported.

American Association of Orthodontists website –