How do you Interview an Orthodontist?
There is no doubt that it can be confusing and challenging to know which orthodontist in your area is highly qualified and also experienced. With so many options to choose from, it can be helpful to understand some details and what to look for. Here are some very important questions to ask an orthodontist before committing to their practice.
What are your Orthodontist Qualifications and Reputation?
One of the first questions to ask an orthodontist is, “are you actually an orthodontic specialist?” There are many different providers, such as general dentists or pediatric dentists offering orthodontic treatment nowadays, yet they do not have the specialty training for being an orthodontist. Orthodontic specialists have 3 years of additional education after dental school. Some orthodontists have even taken the board exams from the American Board of Orthodontists, thus taking their quality of care to an even higher level. In short, look for a board-certified orthodontist.
A very good orthodontist should also have a solid track record of providing quality orthodontic service. A great way to find out more would be to read reviews from current or previous patients or speak with a friend about whom they go to for orthodontic work. Top-notch orthodontists are often educators in their specialty, conduct research, are published authors, or receive awards or accolades for their dedication to patients as well. Consider finding an orthodontist that has considerable experience and a strong reputation in the community.
What Insurance do you Accept?
Be sure to ask about the types of insurance plans that are supported by the orthodontist. Very often patients have an orthodontic benefit associated with their dental insurance, which can apply to towards braces or Invisalign®. Also, many orthodontic offices support a range of today’s most popular insurance providers, as well as FSA and HSA.
Do you Provide Payment Plans for Braces or Invisalign?
You should inquire about payment plans or if flex spending accounts are available to help spread out costs over time. Your orthodontist should provide flexible in-house and interest-free financing options for treatment based on what is a convenient way for you to pay. Most orthodontists offer convenient monthly installments, which makes out-of-pocket obligations much easier to manage. You may want to consider asking about the cost of emergency visits and follow-up appointments as well as if they offer a retainer program.
Do you Treat Patients of All Ages?
Orthodontics is for all ages; there is a treatment for children (Early treatment or Phase 1 Orthodontics), adolescents, adult treatments, and even surgical orthodontics. Not every orthodontist accepts patients of every age group. Some practices focus on orthodontic care only for children or specifically for adults while others are competent to help anyone, regardless of age. Consider choosing an orthodontist who exhibits versatility and specializes in helping individuals in your peer group.
What Kind of Treatment Options are Available for Straightening My Teeth?
A highly qualified orthodontist is able to offer several different approaches to giving you a healthy and beautiful smile. For teenagers and adults, the two most common treatments are traditional metal braces or Invisalign®. Often, ceramic braces can be a great alternative to Invisalign®. Nowadays, there are many alternatives to Invisalign®, such as Spark® or Suresmile®. All great options in the hands of the right provider. An initial consultation and discussion with your orthodontist are needed to determine the best option for you. Invisalign® is an increasingly common choice for adult patients because clear aligners are invisible when you smile and are easy to remove when eating or brushing your teeth.
Are There Other Services that I can Combine with my Orthodontic Treatment?
There are many additional services, such as teeth whitening, esthetic or therapeutic Botox which patients love to combine with their orthodontic treatment. A very popular service is teeth whitening as soon as the braces or Invisalign treatment is completed. Also, some highly trained and qualified orthodontists offer both therapeutic Botox (TMJ Botox for clenching and grinding), as well as esthetic Botox for fine lines and wrinkles. These esthetic services enhance your experience and can really boost your self-esteem. Ask your orthodontist for some additional esthetic services.
How Long Will my Treatment Take?
There are different treatment needs and everyone is different when it comes to the length of treatment time. Some malocclusions (bite problems) are minor, some are very complex. For example, phase 1 treatment is generally quite short, such as 6-9 months. Minor crooked teeth take about a year, and more complex cases can take 24 to 30 months. An experienced orthodontist will be able to give you a fairly accurate time estimate and how also let you know how often you will need to schedule appointments.
What if I Have More Questions?
The initial orthodontic consultation is a great time to discuss and ask all your questions about braces, or any questions regarding your or your child’s treatment. Also, it is most helpful when all deciding parties are present at the new patient child exam so that nothing gets lost in translation when one parent must relay a treatment plan to another parent. Be sure to gather all your questions together and bring them to your initial consultation, and never hesitate to reach out with any follow-up questions. Orthodontists love to help and ensure the best outcome for you or your child.
Also, very good orthodontists send your orthodontic records and treatment plans to your or your child’s dentist and have taken the time to discuss the details with them.
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