How to Pick the Right Orthodontist for You

Making the decision to get braces is a big one. You're investing your time and hard-earned money, so it's important to find an orthodontist with whom you feel comfortable trusting your smile. As you consider your options, use this list of important questions to learn more about your treatment provider. Whomever you choose to begin orthodontic treatment with, we want to make sure you're confident selecting a responsible, qualified orthodontist who will help you gain the smile of your dreams!

Are you seeing an orthodontist or a general dentist?

Your smile matters. If you're looking for the highest-quality treatment for your smile or bite issue, you should see an orthodontist. An orthodontist is a specialized dentist (DDS or DMD) who has spent 2-3 years after dental school dedicated to treating advanced orthodontic cases. Although some general dentists provide limited orthodontic treatment, you'll get the absolute best care by seeing an orthodontist. A general dentist is who you'll want to see for biannual oral health exams and restorative treatment like fillings and root canals - think of them like your primary care physician.


Is this orthodontist Board Certified?

Let's take it a step further. If you're really looking for the most highly-credentialed and qualified doctor, you'll want to make sure your orthodontist is Board Certified. This certification, administered by the American Board of Orthodontics, means that your orthodontist voluntarily spent hundreds of additional hours of preparation to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in orthodontic patient care. Only a third of practicing orthodontists are actually Board Certified, so make sure to ask your orthodontist about their certification. 


Do their current & past patients recommend them?

Have you checked out this doctor's reviews? There are many online review sites for healthcare professionals, but Google, Healthgrades, and RateABiz are some great places to start. If you're not receiving a personal recommendation from a friend on which orthodontist to see, online reviews are a great place to learn about other patients' experiences. You'll likely be with this orthodontist for 18-24 months, so do your research!


Have they treated a case like yours before?

Your smile is unique to you, but certain elements can track across comparable cases and allow for similar treatment plans. Some bite issues, however, are more rare and 'difficult', requiring significantly more complex treatment, potentially involving surgery. Ask your orthodontist if they've treated a case like yours before. They may even be able to share a case study similar to your situation. A good orthodontist will be glad to show you what you can expect and how treatment would progress.


What is the fee for an initial exam and orthodontic consultation?

Not everyone needs braces or orthodontic treatment. But consulting an orthodontist is the best way to find out exactly what type of bite issues you may have and whether or not you need braces. At Land Orthodontics, we believe that your initial exam and consultation should be purely educational - not a sales pitch. We want the best for you and your smile, so we offer a complementary no-strings-attached Land Orthodontics Smile Analysis, including digital x-rays (if needed), examination, and treatment plan, to every new patient who walks in the door.


How do they treat emergency appointments?

Orthodontic treatment can be relatively pain-free. Other than soreness from tooth movement, the most likely form of discomfort arises from a wire poking or a broken appliance. Most orthodontists will provide wax to help prevent oral irritation until your next visit, but we take it a step further. We make every effort to get you in for a quick emergency appointment at no charge to fix the issue and help make you comfortable again. Unless you're habitually eating the wrong foods (anything hard, sticky, or chewy) and breaking appliances over and over, these emergency appointments come at no cost to you and we often are able to see you same-day.


Do they offer flexibility in the way of payment?

Some orthodontists require payment in full before your braces ever come on. That's doable for some, but for many, it's simply unaffordable. Ask your orthodontist about their payment policies and whether they offer any flexibility. At Land Orthodontics, we want to make a perfect smile attainable for every one of our patients. We do everything we can to work with you, from providing 0% flexible financing options to filing your insurance payments for you. 


Does the fee for treatment include retainers?

The average course of treatment takes 18-24 months. Once we remove your braces, you will be provided with a retainer - a simple acrylic or clear plastic appliance you wear at night to keep your teeth aligned properly. When you're considering the cost of orthodontic treatment, make sure that your orthodontist discloses their retainer fees upfront. At Land Orthodontics, your retainers are included in the initial treatment cost. We also have you come back for periodic, complimentary retainer checks years beyond when your treatment is completed. We want to make sure your smile stays straight for life!


Are they empathetic, kind, and caring?

This, of course, isn't a question you'll directly ask your treatment provider. You can recognize empathy and friendliness just by calling the office, visiting their website, and meeting the staff. It's a simple thing, but we think it's key to use the Golden Rule as a test. Does this office treat patients with genuine care, love, and respect? Can you tell that they love helping patients meet their goals? Are they invested in the local community? Go with your gut on this one - after all, you'll likely be spending the next two years with these folks!