By our Smarty friends at Hull & Coleman Orthodontics.
A smile is a curve that sets everything straight. ~Phyllis Diller
Deciding where to take your child for orthodontic treatment is a big decision. Your relationship with your orthodontist really is that—a relationship—because most orthodontic treatments last an average of around 18-24 months. So you’re going to be spending a good bit of time in the office you choose, and you’re going to be making a significant financial investment as well. Most importantly, the orthodontist you choose is going to be developing your child’s smile—literally moving every single tooth in their head into the most ideal looking and healthy fitting position possible. That’s a big deal, so you shouldn’t take it lightly.
For all these reasons, many parents choose to get two or more different opinions when selecting where to take their children for orthodontic treatment. Getting multiple opinions can be very helpful and educational, but it can also sometimes be confusing, as you won’t always get the same information or treatment recommendation from every office you see.
If you do decide to take your child to more than one orthodontist for an evaluation, there are a few important factors to consider as you make your decision on where to go:
1) Make sure you see an actual orthodontist for your treatment, and not just a general dentist that does orthodontics on the side. While some general dentists do advertise that they can provide orthodontic treatment, they do not have the specialty training that orthodontists have. Orthodontists are dentists first—but they then spend an additional two to three years in an orthodontic residency focused solely on orthodontic theory and practice, dentofacial orthopedics, dental and facial esthetics, and the biomechanics of tooth movement. Orthodontists are experts in the art and science of moving teeth into their most esthetic and functional positions to deliver a smile that is beautiful and a bite that is as close to ideal as possible.
2) Review the qualifications of the doctor. Don’t put too much emphasis on what type of brace the orthodontist uses. Many parents are extremely focused on what brand of braces the orthodontist uses, when in fact this is largely a non-factor in the treatment result. The fact is there are DOZENS of excellent brands of braces available for orthodontists to use, and most reputable orthodontists will use a good, high-quality brace. Focus less on the type of brace and more on the doctor, because remember this: you are not buying braces or Invisalign—those are simply tools that the orthodontist uses to straighten your teeth. What you are paying for is the skill level of the doctor and staff that are taking care of you. Your final orthodontic result is directly dependent on the doctor that is diagnosing and treating your case.
3) Review the qualifications of the staff. The skill of the office staff is a critical component of your overall treatment experience and success. You should ensure that your treatment coordinator and other office staff are professional, experienced, and qualified in the treatment of orthodontic patients. Ask for information on the staff to ensure that you are dealing with a quality, experienced group of professionals.
4) Ask to see results. Ask for before-and-after records of other patients that the doctor has treated, preferably with similar treatment needs as yours. Seeing cases similar to yours will give important information on the doctor’s ability to address your particular needs and concerns in treatment.
5) Consider the time the doctor spends with you. Make sure that your doctor takes time to listen to your concerns and that he or she performs a thorough evaluation of your condition. Your doctor should take time to answer all your questions and address all your concerns before starting your child’s orthodontic treatment.
6) Ensure that the practice is up-to-date on the latest advances in the profession. There have been significant advances in orthodontic treatment in recent years. Make sure you are given an office tour to see what technology the office uses, and ask for an explanation of what technology is utilized in the office to deliver excellent results.
7) Consider the number of doctors in the practice. Having more than one doctor in a single practice can offer several advantages, including greater appointment availability, increased coverage in the event of an emergency, and a broader knowledge base for analyzing difficult treatment conditions.
8) Evaluate the tenure of the staff. Longer tenures reflect a healthy working environment and high staff satisfaction in their work. High turnover of office staff can have a negative impact on the quality of service and consistency of care delivered within the office.
If you consider all the above factors and weigh them carefully, you’ll have a much easier time deciding where to go for treatment. Remember—you only get one chance to have your child’s orthodontic treatment done right, so take the time to make a good, well-informed decision. Then you can both sit back and smile. 🙂
Tune in next week as Drs. Hull & Coleman share insight on your first orthodontist visit!
You can find our Smarty Favorite Hull & Coleman Orthodontics at:
Read Jen Plym’s tips for when your child first gets braces.
7800 Providence Road, Suite 201
Charlotte, NC 28226
Wesley Chapel Office
5941 Weddington Road
Wesley Chapel, NC 28104
You can always find them on facebook.