Your smile, and the teeth that make it shine, are one of the first things someone notices about you. A healthy smile is capable of having an incredible impact on your daily life. Crooked teeth can cause pain and put you in line for other health issues because of food buildup and an increased chance of plaque and calculus. A faulty bite can cause multiple issues including but not limited to: speech problems, chewing difficulties, non-stable bite, jaw joint issues, and abnormal and excessive wear of the adult teeth.
A healthy smile, on the other hand, makes you feel confident and ready to take on your day’s biggest challenges. Even if your teeth aren’t great now, a straight smile is 100-percent attainable.
A skilled orthodontist can transform your mouth. But where do you start when choosing one? What do you need to look for, and what expectations should you have? Here are five tips for choosing the right orthodontist.
1. Ask for Recommendations
You’re not in this decision alone: Consider asking friends, family, and co-workers for a recommendation. These days, it’s a safe bet that you know at least one or two people who’ve had or currently wear braces, and they probably have a recommendation based off of personal experience.
Use recommendations to make a list of possibilities. In the next steps, we’ll start to whittle them down.
2. Knowledge and Expertise
Once you have a long list, it’s time to consider each orthodontist’s knowledge and expertise. You can look at their schooling and credentials, but perhaps more importantly, consider which techniques and treatments they use.
The more an orthodontist is capable of doing, the more commitment has been put into his or her career. If you have an idea of what treatment you’re looking for, make sure it’s on the list of skills your chosen orthodontist has.
3. Technology and Techniques
You want the most skilled practitioner. Knowing the specialist is up to date with technology and treatment techniques is important. You want to know when the specialist received training.
Does the orthodontist use new technologies like 3D x-rays, digital impressions? Is the office environmentally friendly by using paperless systems? Does the specialist use self-ligating braces and Invisalign?
Moreover, introducing technology will make your life easier because you’ll receive reminders by text and emails.
4. Use Free Consultations
By this point, you likely have a sizable list of candidates, with a few who are standing out as better than the rest. Take that short list, and it’s time to start meeting them. Look for those who offer free consultations and take advantage. It’s a good way to start getting the experts’ thoughts and recommendations, but it’s also an opportunity to see how you feel about them. Are they friendly, all business, or sarcastically witty? Which style do you prefer?
Make sure to ask all your questions at each consultation. Your goal is to get a good feel for the doctor, both in expertise and how you’ll be treated if you become a patient.
5. Compare Prices
Finally, you have to consider pricing. Even great dental coverage will often only cover a portion of your bill, so you need to look for something in your price range. Free consultations are a great time to ask about pricing. Quality orthodontists will be upfront about pricing. Many places offer in-house financing and direct billing to insurance too, which can be a great option for some.
In the end, one of the most important factors in choosing an orthodontist is how the practitioner makes you feel. Are you comfortable in that dental chair? Do you believe trust the staff?
It doesn’t matter if you’re a teen, an adult, or a senior—good teeth make life better. And with people living longer than ever, it’s never too late to speak to an orthodontist and have your teeth improved. If you do, you won’t help but be able to smile.