It’s tricky choosing an orthodontist.
Like any health care professional, your relationship is going to be intimate. So, you need someone you can trust.
You also need to find a professional with experience, who you can build a good relationship with. But that’s not enough.
You also need to find someone your child likes. Because you don’t want to have to battle to get them to go to each visit, and you don’t want them being uncomfortable.
You want them to be happy to go to each appointment, even they haven’t started treatment. You see, the Australian Society of Orthodontists recommends that every child between the ages of eight and ten years should have an orthodontic check-up.
This is because an orthodontist can see signs of trouble that regular dentists cannot. And the choice you make in an orthodontist today can impact the way your child smiles, talks and chews once they are an adult.
The best approach to finding an orthodontist is by asking the right questions.
1) Is there a fee for the first appointment?
The first appointment is your chance to get to know the orthodontist and decide if they are a good match for you and your child. It’s also the chance to ask all the questions listed here along with any others you may have.
Offering a free first appointment is a show of confidence, but it should include a full assessment. During this appointment, you should receive:
- an explanation of your orthodontic problems and the treatments available
- an estimate of the time required for your treatment
- a quote and your financial options
As well as information on living with braces or Invisalign, and how to proceed to the next stage.
2) Do you offer finance plans?
Let’s face it, orthodontic treatment isn’t cheap. It’s an investment in your dental health and well-being, as well as your appearance.
Look for an orthodontist who understands this and offers tailored payment plans that will work with your budget. You want someone who’s understanding and willing to work with you.
3) What are your qualifications?
A dentist who offers orthodontic services differs from an orthodontist. Dentists who complete a course in a certain type of treatment may be “certified” to provide this service.
An orthodontist is a professional who has completed dental school and then spent another three years in post-graduate training. They can offer you a broad range of treatments so that every patient gets the best treatment for their situation.
Orthodontists are best qualified to deal with straightening, improper bite patterns, facial growth and dental development.
4) How many years have you been practising?
Like many health care professionals, Orthodontists get better with age! The more years they’ve been practising, the more complex and different cases they’ve seen.
Ideally, you want to find an orthodontist who has a decade or two of experience. But you also want someone who has stayed up to date with the latest advances in technology and techniques by attending regular orthodontic seminars and conferences.
A great orthodontist may also have trained other orthodontists and dentists in different orthodontic systems. They’re also likely to remain an active member of the generalist and specialist dental community.
5) Will you work with my dentist?
Continuing with routine dental care during orthodontic treatment is an important part of keeping your mouth healthy.
An orthodontist doesn’t provide general dental care, but they should work with your dentist to keep them updated about your treatment. You should still visit your dentist for regular cleaning and check-ups, so you need both health care professionals on the same page.
6) Do you run on time?
No one likes the frustration of sitting in a waiting room, watching the clock, or counting how late your appointment is going to start.
You can prevent this by looking for an orthodontist who has an ‘On-Time’ policy and offers longer appointments. This means they care about providing personalised care, building a lasting relationship with their patients, and they’re not going to rush you.
Like any health care professional, an orthodontist can experience emergencies such as unexpected breakages. So, check their procedures for communicating when an emergency arises and see if they inform everyone affected.
7) Have you treated similar cases you can show me?
Every patient is unique and may expect a different outcome. Most orthodontists will develop some idea of what a patient needs during the initial visit.
Before and after photos of a previous patient with a similar condition will give you a better idea of what to expect. It also shows that the orthodontist has the right experience to treat you or your child.
You want the best possible outcome from your orthodontic treatment. To do that you need to do a little homework and ask the right questions.
At Gullotta Orthodontics we believe everyone deserves a beautiful, healthy smile. We offer free initial appointments and finance plans to fit your budget.
We also have a fun, happy environment and we run on time. Call us today to make your appointment and see how much better life can be with a great smile.