Guest Post from Dr. Heather Desh
How to Choose the Right Orthodontist
Orthodontic treatment requires a trusting relationship. Do you know how to choose the right orthodontist for you?
When you make the decision to undergo orthodontic treatment, building a relationship with the right doctor is essential because a beautiful, healthy smile doesn’t happen overnight. Starting orthodontic treatment means making a big commitment to one orthodontist for several years, so it is important to choose a doctor you’re comfortable with. As with any healthy relationship, it should be built on trust, understanding and communication.
Choosing an orthodontist can be difficult. With so many to choose from, how can you be sure the one you pick is right for you? There are several things that should be included in your research.
- Ask people you trust for their opinions. Do you have a close friend or family member who has undergone treatment, or has a child who has? Ask them who they used, and if they’d recommend that office. You should also ask your dentist and hygienist. If your dentist has an orthodontist he or she regularly recommends, it’s a great sign you can trust the work of that office.
- Be sure you are seeing a certified orthodontist. Many dentists offer some kinds of orthodontic care in their office (i.e. Invisalign and Six Month Smiles). While dentists provide excellent general dental care, periodontal maintenance and cosmetic needs, only a trained and certified orthodontist has the unique knowledge and extra 2-3 years training needed to ensure not just a pretty smile, but a perfectly functioning bite as well. It’s also important to ask whether the doctor is board certified by the American Board of Orthodontics, a prestige held by only 20% of orthodontists. Read more about why that is important here.
- Meet the orthodontist! Most practices will offer a free consultation visit so that you can visit the office and meet the orthodontist before making a financial commitment. As stated above, you’ll be embarking on a 1-2 year relationship with this person, so make sure it’s someone you’re comfortable with and trust. Did the orthodontist take the time to address your questions and concerns? Good doctors are good teachers so should be able to explain why they recommend a particular treatment and the expected results.
- See the office in person. Often times, the best way to see if an orthodontic office will be a good fit for you is to visit the office. Do you feel comfortable? Does the office provide the amenities you’re looking for? Was the staff warm and inviting? Gone are the days of visiting a dreary dental office; today you are investing in not only a service (ortho treatment), but also an experience.
- Does the office use state-of-the-art technology? Technology in the orthodontics world is moving quickly, so it’s important your orthodontist stays up-to-date in order to provide you with the best and most efficient care. Digital technology also has the advantages of reduced waste and significantly decreased radiation.
- Does your insurance cover this particular orthodontist? If not, and this is the orthodontist you feel most comfortable with, what are the payment options? Will the office provide you with all fees upfront, so you’ll know what to expect? Make sure you find out whether the fees are all-inclusive or if things like records, retainers, clear braces are provided at an additional cost.
- What type of treatment does the orthodontist recommend? Get a detailed treatment plan from the orthodontist, and if visiting more than one before making your final decision, compare them. Are there things that are very different? If so, ask the orthodontists why. Learning their approach to treatment can help you better know if the orthodontist will be an ideal fit for you.
- Where is the office located? Is it convenient for you? Does the office offer hours that will fit into your schedule? While that shouldn’t be the most important thing when choosing an orthodontist, it is something to consider. If you have to drive a bit of a distance, and the office doesn’t offer times that conveniently fit into your schedule, it can make it harder to commit fully to your treatment. Keeping your maintenance appointments on schedule is important to ensuring your treatment stays on track.
If you’re interested in orthodontic treatment, I invite you to call our office today to set up a complimentary consultation and see if we’re a good fit for you. I look forward to meeting you and hope to begin a meaningful relationship with a beautiful final treatment result!
About Dr. Heather Desh
Dr. Heather Desh of HD Orthodontics is a board certified long beach orthodontist and dentofacial orthopedics. Dr. Desh provides best orthodontic care including early treatments for children as well as treatments for teens and adults from long beach, CA and surrounding areas.