How to Choose an Orthodontist
Since orthodontic treatment can last months to years, finding the right orthodontist is an important step in perfecting your or your child’s smile. You will want to make sure you are comfortable with your doctor, that they listen to you and answer all questions you may have, and that they have the experience to treat you properly.
If you are unsure about how to find the right orthodontist for you, one of the best methods is to ask around. Family members and co-workers with first-hand experiences will often have recommendations. Another great option is to ask your dentist. Since both dentists and orthodontists are highly trained, your dentist will likely have an idea of good orthodontists in the area.
Consider education and experience.
Not all orthodontists are the same, and you want to make sure you are choosing one with the education and experience to treat you properly. After dental school, orthodontists have several years of additional training. Besides this, many orthodontists participate in continued education programs or specialty training programs. When first meeting with your potential orthodontist, it can be good to ask them where they went to school, and what types, if any, of additional training they’ve had.
Why is this important? Well, some dentists are allowed to offer services such as braces and aligners, even if they haven’t had the additional training to become an orthodontist. While dentists are highly trained, they do not have the same level of education and experience as orthodontists. Read more about the differences between dentists and orthodontists here.
Another important question to ask your orthodontist is whether or not they are a licensed member of the American Association of Orthodontists. Being a licensed member means that the orthodontist understands the most current clinical methods and procedures. Dr. Dean is the only AAO-licensed orthodontist in the Cambridge and Coshocton areas. Make sure you understand who you are working with! To aid your research, you can search for AAO-licensed orthodontists using this tool.
Besides experience, keep note of how you feel around the orthodontist. Are they nice? Are they paying attention to you and your concerns? Pay attention to the office staff as well, as they will play a key role in your appointments.
Remember, you can always ask questions during your consultation! If you don’t, you may not have a clear understanding of that orthodontist’s experience or process. Knowing what issues you have, as well as how your orthodontist plans to treat them, will make you a more informed patient, even if you choose to not move forward with that orthodontist. The more informed you are, the more thoughtful decisions you will be able to make!