If you’ve been referred to an orthodontist, your general dentist likely knows about his or her solid reputation. However, blindly trusting someone — even a professional — with something as important as your teeth is risky. It’s up to you to do your research and meet with a handful of orthodontists before moving forward. Orthodontic treatments are available in three major types: traditional braces, Invisalign and the Damon System. With due diligence, you’ll probably narrow these systems down your favorite, but that might not be the best choice for the results you want. Build a partnership with your orthodontist, and remember that you both have the same goal: Healthy, beautiful teeth, post-treatment.
Getting orthodontics is a big decision, and sometimes a hefty investment. Start by choosing an orthodontist who’s in your dental insurance network (if applicable). Many offer payment plans, too, so don’t let sheer cost stand in your way. As you schedule consultations with orthodontists, it’s a good idea to have a list of questions prepared. Here are a few to get you started:
- What treatment would you recommend and why? You’ve done your orthodontics research, and now it’s time to see if your orthodontist agrees with you. More importantly, it should be clear why he or she recommends one method over another.
How long will this take? In the consultation stage, your orthodontist probably won’t be able to give you a definite date for when your orthodontic treatment will be complete. However, he or she should be able to give you a pretty accurate ballpark figure. If you find major discrepancies between orthodontists — such as one says one year and another says four — figure out why.
- What technology do you use? Every dental office has different technology. For example, not everyone offers the Damon System, and not every office has digital X-rays. Your orthodontist should be happy to explain what tools and technology their office uses. In fact, he or she should be proud of it.
- What results should I expect? Your teeth come with a natural shape and whitest white. Nothing except veneers will be able to change that, so you can’t expect teeth like Angelina Jolie’s post-orthodontics just because you admire them. Your orthodontist will give you a reasonable and accurate idea of what to expect, and also can advise you on cosmetic solutions if you really want a Hollywood smile. Other options, like regular in-office whitening, can help you achieve the results you’re really after — and they often work in tandem with orthodontics.
- Can I see before-and-after pictures? Most dentists have a portfolio of before-and-after photos because they want to highlight their work. There might be an online gallery, or a book in the office you can peruse. Answers to your questions are great, but pictures really are worth a thousand words.
Most people aren’t born with perfectly aligned teeth, but orthodontics can help. Contact your local Johnson Elite Orthodontics team to connect with an orthodontist who’s skilled and has a warm “chairside manner.”