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How to Choose an Orthodontist

Questions to ask when choosing an orthodontist:

1. Where was the orthodontist trained?  Did he/she attend an accredited orthodontic residency?  Did he/she attend a good school?  Is the orthodontist board certified by the American Board of Orthodontics?  This may seem obvious, but many people doing orthodontics have never gone to an orthodontics residency and even less are actually board certified.

2. A lot of the work is done by the assistants.  Are the assistants Orthodontic Assistant Permit (OAP) holders, or are they just general dental assistants?

3. Does the office have the latest technology to accuratnly diagnose and treatment plan?  Is the office still using 2D dental xrays, or do they use the modern 3D orthodontic x-rays?  The difference is tremendous.

4. Does the office use digital 3D scanning and printing, or are they still using old fashioned dental molds with putty?  It may seem like a small thing, but the accuracy and comfort is much greater when using 3d scanning.

5. Is the orthodontist involved in local study clubs with other specialists?


Choosing an orthodontic practice to trust with the beauty of your smile or your child’s smile is an important decision. Orthodontic treatment has the potential to be a long process, so you’ll want to make sure you or your child are comfortable with the doctor and staff.

Your orthodontic experience is something you’ll remember for the rest of your life, so make sure it’s something to smile about. Ask someone you trust for a recommendation.

Selecting an orthodontist may seem like a daunting task for someone who has never been through it, so it’s a great idea to ask for a recommendation from someone who has. Whether it’s a friend, co-worker, or family member, that person will probably be more than happy to share his or her first-hand experience.

Your general dentist is also a great resource to get a recommendation. If your dentist’s children have had braces, ask which orthodontist they used.

Consider education and experience.

Once you have a list of a few orthodontists, do a little research. Find out about the person’s educational background, where he or she went to school, and what kinds of continuing education or specialty training the doctor’s had. Before you set up a consultation with an orthodontist, make sure he or she is a licensed member of the American Association of Orthodontists and most importantly a board certified orthodontist. This ensures the doctors remains up to date on the newest and most effective clinical procedures.

Get a consultation from more than one office

Orthodontists have different treatment styles, so getting a consultation from more than one office is a great idea. Some may offer specific orthodontic treatment options or products that others may not. Compare the length of recommended treatment time with the cost of that treatment.

It’s also important to feel comfortable with your orthodontist. Does he or she have a pleasant chairside manner? Do you feel like the doctor really pays attention to your concerns? Is the staff friendly and helpful?

By visiting more than one office, you’re more likely to find an orthodontist who can meet your individual needs while staying within your budget.

Ask questions

During your consultation, don’t be afraid to ask questions. After all, that’s why you’re there! It’s important for you to understand what type of orthodontic issues you have and the most effective ways to treat them. The more informed you are about your own dental health, the better decisions you will be able to make.

A few additional things to consider

  • Who will be overseeing your treatment: the orthodontist or assistants?
  • Is the office located near your home or work to make appointments as convenient as possible?
  • Does the practice offer extended office hours before or after work and school?
  • What types of insurance does the office work with and what kind of financing does it offer?
  • Do the orthodontist and staff seem interested in making your experience personalized or do you feel like “just a number?”