Choosing an orthodontist is the first step towards achieving the smile of your dreams. With so many options, the search for quality orthodontic care can feel like an uphill battle.
You may have researched online or asked friends and family for recommendations, only to be met with a long list of orthodontists that may or may not be a good fit. But how do you know when you’ve found the “right one”?
Here are 5 questions to ask each potential orthodontist to help narrow down your list:
1. Can you tell me about your experience?
This first question is a great way to find out if the orthodontist you’re considering is the best for the job. While education levels vary, your orthodontist should have completed at least 2-3 years of specialty training in orthodontics.
Similar to Dr. McIntosh, they should also be members of the American Association of Orthodontics, which you can verify on the AAO website. If you’re seeking a specific treatment, such as Invisalign for adults, ask about their experience with this particular service.
2. What are my treatment options?
Knowing your options now will save you time and frustration later on. If you know you want clear, removable braces, ask upfront if they offer Invisalign services. If you’re looking to correct an overbite, request more information on how they treat this condition.
Be as direct as possible about your treatment needs, making note of which orthodontists offers this option first — and which don’t offer it at all.
3. How long does treatment usually take?
If you have a timeframe in mind you’re hoping to complete treatment, discuss this with all of your potential orthodontists. Ask about the average length of treatment and how soon before you can see results. This will give them a better idea of your expectations, and you can also find out which offices offer services that align with your busy schedule.
4. What are your office hours?
If you’ve gotten your list down to a few, try asking more questions about the practical aspects of orthodontics, such as office hours. Most treatments require check-up visits every 6-8 weeks. If the orthodontist you’re considering is located 50 miles away, or their office is closed on your only day off, perhaps this isn’t the best fit for you.
5. How much will it cost?
We understand that for many families, the cost is the ultimate decision maker. After you’ve been briefed on the practice and treatment options, it’s time to find out exactly how much your treatment will cost and what your payment options are. This is also a good time to ask about other fees, such as retainer replacements or emergency visits, and whether this is covered in your grand total.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Another area to consider is your first impression of various orthodontists. The treatment you receive in the very beginning, such as your first phone call or visit to their office, can provide clues about what to expect during and after your treatment.
For each orthodontist you’re considering, try asking yourself the following questions:
- Was the staff friendly and helpful over the phone?
- Did I feel comfortable and welcome in their office?
- Did I leave feeling overwhelmed or confused, or informed and confident?
The decision to go with one orthodontist over another boils down to one main question: Can I trust them?
If your visit with an orthodontist left you with more questions than answers, it’s probably time to cross them off your list. Ultimately, you should select an orthodontist you’re confident you can trust with your time and money, but most importantly — your incredible new smile.