Just as the percentage of adults receiving routine dental care has been rising, so has the number of patients seeking the services of an orthodontist. Some are being referred by their dentists in order to prevent ailments such as tooth decay and gum disease.
Others choose to see an orthodontist for the correction of crowded or crooked teeth, jaw positioning issues, and overbites. Whatever your reasons for considering the services offered by an orthodontist, there are several questions you should ask yourself before deciding on any particular practitioner.
1. Does he treat patients of your age?
About 80 percent of Americans undergoing orthodontic treatment are under the age of 18. Due to the higher demand associated with children and teens, many orthodontists choose not to treat adults at all.
Thanks in large part to technological advances, adult orthodontic treatments have become quite routine. Unfortunately, these 900,000 adult patients often find it difficult to locate an appropriate orthodontist who is willing and able to care for them.
2. Does he focus on any specialties?
With four more years of school attendance than general dentists, orthodontists spend an extra 3700 hours focusing on some highly specialized training. Beyond the laser-pointed focus of their educations, each then chooses which treatment options to offer his or her patients.
For those hoping to skip the traditional metal braces, it is important to verify your chosen provider’s willingness to provide clear ceramic brackets or Invisalign trays. Attempting to locate a new orthodontist for braces after your treatment has begun will only prolong the time associated with the correction of your overbite or crowded teeth.
3. Does he make you comfortable?
The anxiety of visiting a dentist of any sort is so prevalent it has been replicated in countless television shows and films. This is especially true among younger children, but even adults are prone to such fears.
Just as you wouldn’t employ the services of a medical doctor that made you or your child feel uncomfortable, the same should be true when choosing an orthodontist. Just spend some time speaking to him and be sure that he has an upbeat attitude geared toward an attentive rapport, especially if he is to treat your child.
4. Does he have the availability?
While word-of-mouth referrals can be reliable in finding an orthodontist, this tactic isn’t always as useful as it would seem. A well-established orthodontist will usually have a full patient load, especially in smaller communities where fewer practitioners offer their services.
Ensuring that your chosen provider is able to provide you with the personal attention you deserve is key to a successful outcome. Most importantly, you are more than likely to prevent the prolonged treatment times associated with busy practices.
5. Does he practice nearby?
As mentioned above, small communities may suffer from a lack of available orthodontists. This issue often leads patients to travel long distances to find the treatment they seek. These additional miles will then require a larger commitment of time and money to see your treatment through to the end.
Unlike traditional dentistry, orthodontic treatment plans call for more frequent office visits, sometimes as often as once a month. In addition, the timelines associated with braces and Invisalign can last anywhere from several months to many years.
As of 2018, approximately 9,000 orthodontists were offering their services to patients. However, not all orthodontists provide the same treatments to everyone. For instance, one that may be right for your child could actually be unavailable to you as an adult.
There are so many factors that go into finding the right orthodontist for you or your child and making an effort in this regard will serve you better in the long run.