choose an orthodontist

Valencia, CA – A quick Google search in your area will no doubt bring up a host of orthodontists. Being prepared with questions, and starting with a basic idea of what you are looking for in your child’s orthodontist can be a huge help in finding the right office for you.
Below are things to look for and questions to ask when looking for an orthodontist.

  1. Look for a certified orthodontist. Becoming a certified, Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics is only achieved by about 25% of practicing orthodontists. But, it’s important as it signals a commitment to excellence. All board certified orthodontists adhere to the highest standards of care and follow all laws and regulations of the Board.
  2. Obtain a list of orthodontists in your area. You can ask friends and family for recommendations, or you can go straight to the Board Certified Orthodontist locator to find certified orthodontists in your area.
  3. Start at the orthodontic practice’s website. You can often get a lot of information from the site, such as a feel for the orthodontist’s approach to treatment, payment options, and many will even have before and after photos and patient testimonials available.
  4. Schedule initial consultations. The initial consultation is free of charge, and will allow you to get a feel for the office, the staff, and the orthodontist.
  5. Ask the orthodontist about his or her background – where did he or she graduate from dental school and complete the orthodontic residency?
  6. Does the orthodontist have a standard of care that is followed, as outlined by the American Association of Orthodontists Clinical Practice Guidelines? Can the orthodontist explain the process for how you a diagnosis and treatment plan is crafted?
  7. Can the orthodontist explain the scope of the treatment plan believed best for your child?
  8. Will there be consequences to delaying treatment for your child, and if so, what are they?
  9. Does the orthodontist personally do the work on all of the patients, such as attaching brackets and wires, adjustments at check-ups, etc., or do associates handle portions of the appointments?
  10. What are the office hours? Are there emergency hours, and hours that can work around your child’s school schedule?
  11. How does the orthodontist determine treatment costs? Does this cost include everything your child will need for the entire duration of treatment?
  12. What are the payment options available? Does the practice accept insurance? Does the practice have payment plans, or low or no interest financing options?
  13. What is expected of your child after the braces are removed? Is all post-treatment follow-up included in your initial cost estimate?
  14. What treatment options are available in the office?
  15. Does the orthodontist offer individualized treatment plans, or does the office have a one size fits all approach to treatment?
  16. Can the orthodontist provide before and after photos, as well as patient references?
  17. Do you and your child feel comfortable in the office? Is the staff welcoming and the office comfortable?
  18. Is the office easy to get to, with convenient hours that fit into your schedule?
  19. Is the staff well-trained, with expertise in handling all levels of orthodontic care?
  20. Does the orthodontist and staff allow for questions, both from you and your child?

Choosing the right orthodontist for your child is an important step in ensuring a lifetime of good oral health. Orthodontics can provide a more beautiful, properly functioning smile for your child. But, the treatment process involves teamwork – on the part of the orthodontist and staff, you and your child. Choose a team that you can work well with, and your child’s orthodontic treatment will be a breeze.