Are you looking at your teeth or your child’s teeth and wondering whether you should be visiting an orthodontist? You want to make sure your child has the best dental care that results in a winning smile.
Yet, deciding to get braces is not only a big commitment, it can be a costly one too. You want to make sure you are choosing an orthodontist with whom you feel confident and comfortable.
Getting braces to fix a bite issue or straighten teeth is a process that can take some time. You want to feel like the orthodontist is someone you will have a comfortable relationship with through the process.
When you meet with the orthodontist for the first time, ask careful questions to find out if the orthodontist is a good fit for your care. Read on to learn what questions to ask and why these questions matter.
1. What Is Your Background and Experience in Orthodontics?
Don’t feel you’re out of line to ask about the background and experience of the orthodontist. Orthodontists have extensive training and you have the right to know about their training.
Technically, any certified dentist can do orthodontics work. Yet, you want to hire an orthodontist who has specialized training in orthodontics. This means they have done the three-year residency in orthodontics to gain more knowledge and experience.
Don’t be afraid to ask:
- Where did you attend dental school?
- How long have they been in practice?
- Where they did their orthodontic specialty residency?
You also want to know what experiences they have had once they left school. Listening to them answer these questions helps give you a perspective on their background and philosophy in orthodontics.
2. How Will Braces Benefit Me?
Ask the orthodontist to take you through how they see your mouth or your child’s mouth. You want them to explain how braces will be a benefit for the wearer.
Of course, wearing braces means your teeth get straight and aligned. This makes for a winning smile. It also means you can more easily keep your teeth when flossing and brushing.
If you have bite issues, the orthodontist will be able to explain how a properly aligned bite can help your overall health.
3. What Are My Treatment Options?
Once the orthodontist looks at your mouth, the doctor can explain your treatment options.
It used to be that when you got braces, you automatically had a mouth full of silver metal braces. That is no longer the case automatically.
The field of orthodontics has had many advances that give you many options for treatment, all depending on your mouth and how much work you need.
As the doctor takes you through your treatment options, be sure to ask about the pros and cons of each option. Why would the orthodontist choose one option for you over another?
4. How Long Does Treatment Take?
Of course, this is an obvious question for most people because they want to know how long they will have those braces on their teeth.
You need to know going into orthodontics that every mouth is a little different. Your orthodontist can make an estimate for how long your treatment will take, but it will be an estimate. Some people have mouths that are very responsive to treatment, while others have mouths that take longer.
Having said that, the average time for braces is between 18 months and 3 years. For some patients, all treatments can be completed in around a year’s time.
5. What Do Braces Cost?
The average cost of braces will depend greatly on your needs and what treatment plan is followed. Many patients have orthodontic care as part of their dental insurance, so you want to see what you might be able to get covered through your insurance.
If you need some dental care to prepare you for braces, like tooth extraction, often that too can fit under your dental insurance, instead of being part of the straight cost of orthodontics.
Many orthodontists also understand that getting braces is costly and involves care over a longer period of time. Because of this, they will offer payment plans, so you can for the braces over time.
6. What Will My Responsibilities Be At Home?
Part of a successful orthodontic plan is following all of the instructions from your doctor. This will include, of course, those things you need to do at home with your braces to help your teeth move.
Having braces means spending more time cleaning your teeth. You want to make sure you are prepared to spend the time brushing and flossing very regularly so food doesn’t stay caught in your teeth.
Your orthodontist may ask you to wear rubber bands or headgear to help put pressure on your teeth to move. Following their care instructions at home means your braces will be off sooner rather than later.
7. What Is the Best Age to Get Braces?
Deciding the correct age to get braces is dependent on the patient. Adults who already have a fully grown jaw and all of their adult teeth can get braces when they are ready.
Children are a little different. Children are still losing baby teeth and getting adult teeth. Their jaws are still growing. These are factors in when is the best time to put them in braces.
Many orthodontists recommend starting to evaluate and monitor children for orthodontics around age 7. Treatment then happens in phases as they grow, the treatment can address their needs over time.
Know What to Ask Your Orthodontist Before Braces
As you consider making the commitment for braces for either yourself or your child, do your research and ask the orthodontist good questions. Often you will visit your orthodontist over the course of many years. You want to find one with whom you are comfortable and confident with their treatment plan.
If you are looking for an orthodontist, we can help. Start our virtual assessment today and then we will be happy to talk with you further about a treatment plan and to answer all your questions.