What to Look for in an Orthodontist
Both adults and children can recourse to orthodontics to correct defects in the positioning of the jaws and teeth. This medical discipline can improve chew, swallowing, making phonations, improved breathing while preventing dental cavities. However, the orthodontic profession is built on trust. Correcting the misalignment of teeth, among others, is a treatment that only lasts a few months. But the results last a lifetime!
In the field of orthodontics, what matters is who takes care of your oral health, with what, and under what conditions. For this reason, we at Ballard Orthodontics are here to reveal to you which aspects, in our opinion, are fundamental to choosing your orthodontist.
So, when looking for an orthodontist, consider these criteria.
1. Area of specialization
Quality orthodontics is technically complex, and the orthodontist specialization has arisen due to this. However, this means the orthodontist must be a licensed professional. It is not enough for the professional to have only studied dentistry for quality treatment. According to regulations in some parts of the world, any dentist can perform orthodontic treatment even if they have not received specialized training. This is why many orthodontic treatments are performed incorrectly, with disastrous results, following a more extended treatment duration. Not all clinics are the same, and not all treatments are the same. Ensure your orthodontist has a 3-year master's degree in this field of study.
The requirements of the colleges of dentistry vary from country to country. Dentists cannot practice orthodontic treatments in the West if they have not studied orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. This translates to studies, curriculum tests, and examinations that span 10 to 11 years before being licensed or certified to practice. When broken down, this means four years at an undergraduate school, another four at a college of dentistry, and three more for an orthodontics residency program. Unfortunately, many orthodontic treatments are performed by people without proper credentials. In most cases, the patient is the last to know.
3. The experience
Another important factor is experience. Don't be afraid to ask the orthodontist about the specialization courses and techniques that he/she has learned. A good professional will not hesitate to give you this information. It is necessary to check the dentist's qualifications and ensure he's experienced. Specific training and experience in the field will help to ensure that risks are eliminated. In addition, the specialty of orthodontics needs continuous training and updating of technical knowledge. This is due to the advancement and progress in treatment techniques, procedures, and tools used in the sector. In a few years, we have seen how it has gone from the annoying and not very practical brackets to the use of the very effective and discreet Invisalign orthodontics. And the best orthodontist should be at the forefront of these techniques.
4. The treatment options
Today, there are different ways to correct teeth misalignment. And all options vary in terms of aesthetics, price, and duration. An orthodontist must evaluate your needs, budget and take studies (such as photographs, models, x-rays) to give you a diagnosis. This will allow you to receive the best treatment possible.
5. The orthodontist's clinic atmosphere
If you have been scheduled to meet the orthodontist in their office, take a look at the atmosphere during your first visit. Is it friendly, comfortable? Do you feel confident? They say we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but the appearance of a dental clinic can show you the professionalism of your orthodontist.
6. The pricing
So that everything is clear from the beginning, ask all the questions that come to your mind. Ensure that the orthodontist explains all the expenses and possible additional charges in detail. For example, if you want to get cosmetic braces, it's worth asking what payment plans they offer. However, remember that cheap is expensive. Beware of high discounts and complimentary services. They are often sales hooks. When the service orientation is commercial, and the service is more affordable than the average market price, you will surely pay for it. No one gives a dollar worth of service for fifty cents. Cheap treatments often involve cheap materials, so always go for clinics with quality materials and qualified doctors.
7. Work team
Your orthodontist will be responsible for the treatment outcome, but they most likely won't be working alone. Orthodontists typically receive support from other professionals such as general dentists, maxillofacial surgeons, or periodontists. Each specialist plays an essential role in the treatment. So it is advisable to find out the team's experience to know those who will be involved in taking care of your smile.
8. Post-treatment care
You'll see your orthodontist regularly during treatment to check your teeth. But you'll likely need help after treatment is over, too (wearing retainers, checking that your teeth are holding in place, seeing if you can have a teeth whitening treatment, etc.).
9. Talk to other patients
Patients are the best letter of introduction to a clinic. Listen to the experience of other people who have already finished or are undergoing orthodontic treatment. What treatment have they received? What are the facilities like? Are they satisfied with the results achieved? These questions will help you know if the clinic suits your needs and situation.
Ensure professional continuity and guarantees to your treatment are offered. Changing one or more orthodontists in a single case usually happens in clinics that belong to franchises and large chains, in mutual clinics or small clinics. Orthodontist changes do NOT usually happen when you go to an exclusive orthodontic clinic where the orthodontist is the place's owner. Currently, many clinics have a collaborating dentist who only works 1 or 2 times a month. If you have an emergency, you may not have a qualified person to attend to you. And if doctors are frequently changed, know that each orthodontist uses different techniques and methods. So, request that they assure you that they will not change the orthodontist midway into the treatment.
11. Technology and innovation
Dental clinics that invest in new equipment and the latest technology are showing concern, both for the orthodontists' work and the patient who is going to receive the treatment. Using standard equipment means diagnosis and the orthodontic process are as efficient and accurate as possible. At Ballard Orthodontics, you'll have access to modern orthodontics treatments using sophisticated technology such as 3D Imaging and Invisalign, aside from the traditional brace method. In addition, we only use top brands for your treatments. But that doesn't mean our services come with a sky-high pricing system.
12. Personalized attention and trust
The treatment of the medical team and all the staff that will attend to you in the clinic is essential when choosing an orthodontic clinic. Professionals must know how to transmit confidence to the patient from the first moment they come to the clinic and that each clinical case is considered unique.
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