How do you choose?
If you or your child needs orthodontic help, it can be hard to work out who to see. You want the best, but it can be difficult and confusing to know what to look for and how to choose the right person for you or your family.
Here are some tips about common mistakes, courtesy of Gullotta Orthodontics.
Not Choosing a Specialist
Many dentists offer orthodontic services. Dentists can become “certified” to apply certain kinds of braces by attending short seminars and training courses.
An orthodontist, however, is a specialist who has completed dental school and then spent another three years in post-graduate training to make them an expert in straightening teeth. Orthodontics is like any other health care speciality – you should make sure the practitioner is qualified, experienced and skilled.
Orthodontists are the only practitioners who can give you an accurate, informed opinion on the best orthodontic options for your teeth and deal with any difficult issues and unexpected outcomes to help you achieve the smile you desire and a good bite.
Orthodontists are best qualified to deal with straightening, improper bite patterns, facial growth and dental development. To be sure that any practitioner you choose is appropriately accredited and actually is a specialist orthodontist, visit the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency site or the Australia Sociality of Orthodontists.
Not Doing the Research
Your general dentist may recommend or refer you to a particular orthodontist, but you don’t have to visit that practitioner. The referral might be based on having an acquaintance with someone whose work your dentist really doesn’t know much about.
In a worst-case scenario, the referring dentist might even be getting some form of incentive for the referral. You should never accept a single-source referral – always do your own research.
Look for someone with the right qualifications, who you trust.
Waiting Too Long
The Australian Society of Orthodontists recommends an evaluation for all children between the ages of eight and 10.
This is late enough that your child should have most of his or her permanent teeth but early enough to spot potentially serious problems and take action. Early treatment may also mean fewer procedures and eliminate the need for something like tooth extractions.
You don’t need a referral to see an orthodontist, so don’t wait and risk leaving it too late.
Failing to Discuss Financials
When it comes to orthodontic treatment, money is an issue. Your insurance plan may or may not cover all of your child’s orthodontic expenses.
But don’t look for the cheapest solution. Choosing an orthodontist solely on the basis of cost, means you run the risk of poor care. It’s true that you often get what you pay for!
A reputable orthodontist will work with you to manage costs or create a tailored payment plan specific to your needs. Orthodontic treatment is an investment in your health and well-being, and we believe everyone should have access to the best treatment available.
Ignoring a Personality Mismatch
Orthodontists have different personalities and levels of people skills. Some do better with older adolescents rather than those at a younger age.
Pay close attention to the interactions between the orthodontist and your child (as well as yourself). If things don’t seem to be working out, you should make a change.
Good orthodontic care is expensive and time-consuming, so it’s worth the time and effort to find the right orthodontist. There are plenty of sources, both online and in the community, to help you make a choice.
Please don’t hesitate to call us if you’d like to make an appointment. We offer your first consultation free, so we can get to know you, and establish the best course of treatment for you.