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Choosing the Right Orthodontist: Questions to Ask at Your Consultation

By March 19, 2019July 22nd, 2022Orthodontics

Once you decide you’re ready to straighten your teeth and get a smile you love, your next step is choosing an orthodontist. While braces or Invisalign are both amazing tools, they require a lot of behind-the-scenes planning and know-how from a certified specialist in orthodontics to give you the amazing results you’re looking for. In addition to wanting to have the best possible outcome, it’s also important that the treatments offered work for your lifestyle and needs. That’s why you’ll want to ensure the orthodontist you choose is a great fit for you. The best way to determine that is to ask questions. Any orthodontist will be more than happy to answer them. If you’re unsure of where to start and asking yourself, “What should I ask my orthodontist?,” we’ve got you covered. The following questions are a great starting point when choosing an orthodontic practice:

1. What kind of training and experience do you have?

Don’t be afraid you’ll insult a doctor by asking this. It’s important to see a certified specialist in orthodontics to straighten your teeth because they have a keen understanding of the mechanics of tooth movement and what an ideal bite should look like. They’ll be able to give you the most dramatic, stable results that fit your facial features. An orthodontist is different from your general dentist. After earning their bachelor’s degree, an orthodontist like Dr. Patel earns their doctorate from dental school and then completes two to three additional years of specialty training in an orthodontic residency program. This means they are experts in diagnosing, preventing and treating malocclusion, which is issues with the size, positioning or shape of the teeth or jaws. You might also want to inquire as to whether or not the orthodontist you’re considering has treated cases like yours before.

2. What types of orthodontic treatment do you offer?

There are a variety of different types of braces and appliances and thanks to advances in the field, straightening your teeth is more comfortable than ever before. At The Brace Place, we offer ceramic braces, metal braces, Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen, as well as appliances to help guide jaw growth in children. It’s important to have choices because there’s no one, single treatment that will work for everyone’s needs. Some patients love braces because they’re a tried and true option that work well for a wide variety of cases and on all ages. Other patients prefer the fact that Invisalign and Invisalign Teen aligners are virtually invisible and removable.

3. How long will orthodontic treatment take and how many visits will I need?

Ask your orthodontist how long they predict your treatment will take. If two-phase treatment is indicated for your child, you’ll want to have them map out exactly what their plan is and inform you of the length of each stage of treatment. You’ll also want to know how frequently you’ll need to come in for visits. At our practice, we typically have both our Invisalign and braces patients visit every six to eight weeks so we can check their progress. Braces patients will also have adjustments done at these appointments. By going to a modern practice like The Brace Place, you’ll have shorter appointments and see your results faster.

4. How much do braces cost and how much does Invisalign cost?

Your Invisalign or braces cost will be influenced by a number of factors, including how severe your case is, how long your treatment will last and even where you live. At The Brace Place, we’re all about making our Claremore and Tulsa braces affordable because we think everyone deserves to have the opportunity to transform their smile. Yes, treatment is an investment but it shouldn’t stretch you thin or break the bank. We’re transparent about the cost of braces and Invisalign and we offer in-office, interest-free financing and low monthly payments. We’ll work with you to find a plan that suits your family’s budget. When choosing an orthodontist, it’s essential that you find one who is upfront about treatment fees and can accommodate your budget so that you can focus on the teeth-straightening process instead of worrying about the bill.

5. Do you take my insurance?

This ties into the question about Invisalign or braces cost. Dental insurance that has orthodontic coverage can greatly reduce your out-of-pocket expenses for treatment. If you have coverage, be sure the practice accepts your insurance. We accept most PPO insurances at The Brace Place and we file claims on your behalf once treatment is underway.

6. Will extractions be necessary?

Find out if the orthodontist’s proposed treatment plan includes extractions of permanent teeth. Dr. Patel always tries his best to avoid extractions. While, sometimes, they are the best option, with today’s techniques and treatments, it is often possible to find an alternative. For example, severe crowding can sometimes be remedied with non-extraction therapy instead. This is when we expand a patient’s jaw to ensure all of the teeth fit properly. At your consultation or your child’s consultation, Dr. Patel will do a thorough evaluation and go over all of your options.

7. Will Invisalign or braces change the shape of my face?

Orthodontic treatment can change the shape of your face since it aims to align your jaws and teeth. This is especially true when it comes to patients with skeletal issue that need correcting like an underbite or severe overbite. This really highlights the need to see a certified specialist in orthodontics who is an expert at creating a treatment plan that will improve your appearance and your oral health.  

8. What kind of results can I expect from treatment?

After the orthodontist looks at your x-rays and examines your mouth, they can give you an idea of what kind of results you’ll experience based on their treatment plan. You’ll want to love your new smile so make sure you’re on the same page before you kick-off treatment. If you opt for Invisalign, we’re able to show you what your results will be using the Invisalign Outcome Simulator.

9. Will I need a retainer?

The only way to maintain your results for a lifetime is to wear a retainer, whether you had braces or Invisalign. So, the answer to this question should be a resounding, yes!

These are the kind of questions to ask an orthodontist when you’re considering treatment at their practice. Use this list and add a few of your own when you go in for a consultation to determine if it’s the right fit. Your smile is one of your greatest assets so you’ll want to make sure it’s in good hands. If you’re looking for a Tulsa or Claremore orthodontist, book a free consultation with Dr. Patel at The Brace Place. Dr. Patel and our team will answer and all questions you have so that you feel confident about your treatment decisions!