Choosing an orthodontist is a pretty big deal, whether you’re planning to use their services for yourself or you’re researching for your children. As with any other type of service, you want to know that you’re getting the best treatment available at a price that you can afford. You should always give yourself time to carefully consider which orthodontist is best for your situation. Many orthodontists offer consultations that are either free or low-cost, allowing you to determine if they’re the right fit before starting treatment.
Here are eight things to look for and consider when choosing a new orthodontist:
1. Experience and Education
Not every orthodontist has years of experience or the best education. Just because the orthodontist is a trained doctor does not mean that they’re always the best fit for every patient. Before choosing an orthodontist, inquire about the experience and education of the provider. The longer the orthodontist has been providing treatment, and the more training they have, the better you can expect their service to be. This isn’t to say that you should stay away from newly-established offices. However, it’s always best to know the experience and education of the doctor who will be working with you or your child.
Orthodontic treatments can often be more demanding than regular dental routines. With a dental appointment, you’ll need to visit the office twice a year for a teeth cleaning and exam. With orthodontic treatment, you may need to go to the office every few weeks to continue treatment and to monitor progression. Because of this, you need an office that’s close to your home and convenient to visit. Be aware of the hours of the office, since many orthodontists offer evening and weekend hours to make it easier for patients to get there if they’re working or going to school all week.
3. Office Environment
Pay special attention to the environment and atmosphere of the office. Does the office look clean? Are the instruments that are being used wrapped and sterilized for each patient? Is the waiting room full of patients because appointments were overbooked? You should also make note of the staff who are working there. Look for an office with friendly, helpful, and compassionate staff who are willing to treat you like a patient rather than just a number.
4. Consultation Availability
Most orthodontists offer consultations, but this isn’t always the case with every single office out there. Some orthodontists offer consultations, but for an exorbitant fee. If possible, look for offices that provide low-cost or free consultations so that you can determine if the treatment available is worth your time and money. This is especially crucial if you’re looking to interview different orthodontists to decipher which one to use. If you’re paying a hefty fee for a consultation with every office, it will become overly expensive to find the right provider.
5. Family-Friendly Professionals
For most parents, you want to know that you’re working with an orthodontist who takes the time to explain everything to you or your child. An orthodontist who is caring and accommodating leads to a patient who understands the treatment and knows what to expect once the braces are installed. This not only improves treatment for the patient, but it allows you to be a more informed individual. For parents or guardians, it’s crucial to have an orthodontist who isn’t scary or rushed so your children will actually want to go to their appointments.
6. Types of Treatments Offered
Orthodontic technology has come an incredibly long way, and most orthodontists offer a range of different treatment options that will fit the needs of all of their patients. If you’re looking for a specific treatment option, such as clear ceramic braces, metal braces, or Invisalign braces, it’s essential to inquire about this before committing as a patient. While not every orthodontic option is right for all patients, you want to know you have a choice and can explore which treatment best fits you and your lifestyle.
7. Cost of Treatment
One of the most important things to consider when choosing an orthodontist is the price and cost of treatment. Orthodontic treatment can cost thousands of dollars for just one patient, so you need to be made aware of costs upfront so that you can decide if it’s right for you or your child. First, you need to inquire if the office takes insurance if you currently carry dental coverage. If you don’t have insurance, you need to find an office that offers financing or payment plans so that treatment is made more affordable for you. Some offices even offer deals and discounts on orthodontic treatments that make it much more accessible.
8. Reputation of Orthodontist
It’s no surprise that most patients of orthodontists are unbiased when it comes to telling others how they feel. If a patient has had a bad experience, there’s a pretty good chance that they will let others know either through online reviews or testimonials. Reach out to others who may have used the orthodontist and ask them about their experience. Read online reviews carefully and consider looking through patient testimonials on the orthodontist’s website. The orthodontist may have also received both doctoral and business ratings from well-established companies and organizations. You can look for awards that the orthodontist may have won, as well as before and after pictures of previous patients.
Choosing an orthodontist is an important decision and should never be done in a rush. With patience and careful research, you will be able to find a local orthodontist who offers reliable, professional service that accommodates both your dental and financial circumstances. Consider consulting with multiple orthodontists before choosing the one who is right for you or your child.