How to Choose an Orthodontist

Because treatment typically involves a long-term commitment, it’s important to choose your orthodontist carefully. Here’s our “Top 10” list of questions to consider:

1. Did your dentist refer you?
If so, your dentist has likely referred other patients to this practitioner, and they’ve had a successful experience. Primary dentists are in a great position to evaluate orthodontists, because they must work closely together to coordinate your care.

2. Is the orthodontist a licensed member of AAO (American Association of Orthodontists)?
AAO is the profession’s premier association. Its 14,600 members must adhere to rigorous training and ethical standards. To verify your orthodontist’s credentials, check with AAO and the Dental Board of California.

3. How experienced is the orthodontist?
A stable, established practice is often your safest bet. Successful practices have many satisfied patients. Feel free to ask for references from patients who’ve completed similar treatment.

4. How varied and advanced are the treatments offered?
State-of-the-art skills aren’t essential. However, innovative techniques can significantly reduce the time, money and discomfort associated with traditional braces. So it’s in your best interest to find an orthodontist with advanced expertise.

5. Is the orthodontist affiliated with a university or professional publication?
Practitioners who share their know-how by educating others are often at the forefront of the profession.

6. Does the entire staff listen to you and answer your questions?
You’re an active participant in your treatment. Therefore, it’s important that you receive all the information and support you need to succeed.

7. Is the office space comfortable and professional? Is the environment clean, organized and efficient? Do you feel welcomed and appreciated when you call or visit?
These factors contribute to superior quality of care.

8. Is care available when you need it?
If the office location and hours are convenient, you’re less likely to postpone periodic appointments.

9. What happens if you need urgent attention?
Although emergencies are unusual, it’s important to know if your orthodontist is prepared to assist you, in case urgent care is required.

10. Does the orthodontist provide a clear, customized treatment plan at no risk to you?
Treatment is a major commitment – and you deserve to understand the road ahead. Your initial exam should be provided at no charge. This appointment should focus on carefully assessing your needs and outlining treatment options. Skipping the preliminary evaluation and diagnostic steps can mean misdiagnosis, inappropriate treatment and poor results.


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