Patients should take as much care choosing an orthodontist as they do selecting any kind of specialist or primary care physician. Orthodontists attend dental school just like regular dentists, but choose to attend additional years of schooling and training in order to specialize in orthodontics. Considering the extra work needed, you will find far fewer orthodontists than general dentists, but that doesn’t mean conducting your own research and having meet-and-greets aren’t critical. A reputable orthodontist will offer a pre-consultation, at which you can ask questions and get a general feel for the potential orthodontist-patient match.
There was a time when choosing an orthodontist was largely out of the patient’s control. A general dentist would have to refer a patient, but today’s orthodontics call for a little more personalization. Many more options for straightening teeth are available today than in years past, and (for example) not all orthodontists offer Invisalign or the Damon braces system along with traditional braces. However, recommendations and referrals can still be a great starting point, since word of mouth remains a great way to begin your search.
During the Pre-Consultation
Patients who have dental insurance should check to see which orthodontists are in their network, and then cross check with recommendations from their general dentist, friends and family. However, also check to ensure your potential orthodontist is licensed with the American Association of Orthodontists. The AAO ensures that every member has undergone intense training and abides by a set of ethical standards. In order to become members, orthodontists need to undertake at least two years of clinical work and full-time classes in the postgraduate realm. Should members open their own practice, they are required to undergo continuous education for technology and research.
When meeting for a consultation, prepare a list of questions. These should include details on how long an orthodontist has been practicing and his or her experience levels, the extent of his or her practice and a perusal of before and after photos. Find out how diverse the treatment options are, particularly for patients looking for newer technology like robot-adjusted arch wires or miniature implants. Not all orthodontists offer every type of teeth-straightening system, and it’s a good idea to know the options before the consult.
Mapping Out a Game Plan
Before leaving a consultation, potential patients should know the orthodontist’s diagnosis and how he or she would recommend taking action. Alternatives should be explained, and a potential treatment plan that fits your personal needs should be outlined. Is the orthodontic practice conveniently located close to your home, office or child’s school? It is also important to trust your gut at this point and make sure the ambiance of the office is to your liking.
Finally, check the basics off your list. Is the office convenient, are the hours agreeable, is there an emergency number and is financing available? These items are fundamental, and can make or break a your decision when choosing an orthodontist. Put Johnson Elite Orthodontics of Salt Lake City and Sandy, Utah, on your list of considerations when choosing an orthodontist.