If you’re thinking about getting braces, but you’re not sure what to look for or how to get started in orthodontics, don’t worry. I will talk about some tips and tricks that you can use when looking for an orthodontist to find the best match for you to make sure that your braces journey is as amazing as possible.
I want to talk a little bit more about something that happens at the beginning of treatment about finding the right orthodontist for you. I’ve been seeing a lot of people asking: do you know any good orthodontists? A good orthodontist is different for every person and this means that different matches are more compatible with one another. Certain people might rave about one orthodontist but dislike another. It’s all about preference and connection.
1. Visit the orthodontist
An orthodontist is a dentist that has gone through additional years of training specifically to learn how to move teeth properly within the bone to achieve a stable aesthetic functional occlusion or bite. But it doesn’t mean that general dentists cannot perform orthodontics. They can. All dentists are licensed to perform orthodontics. But to find someone that is a specialist that you have to find an orthodontist. So when you’re looking for a place to go, get your braces or Invisalign done, I’d recommend that you visit and consult with an orthodontist.
2. Visit your general dentist
The second thing I recommend everyone do before they go in for a consultation appointment is to make sure that you had a cavity check and a cleaning gum. Let’s say you go to an orthodontist and you know that you’re a great candidate and we can get started today. But you haven’t had your cavity check or cleaning done, this is going to slow down your braces journey. You can’t get started today if you haven’t had an exam or had cavities that were taken care of. So, before you see orthodontists, I recommend everyone see their general dentist first. Make sure you don’t have any cavities and you get your cleaning taken care of.
Also if you’re considering getting any whitening done, I’d recommend you do this either before or after your braces journey. Because if you get whitening done while you’re in braces, you can imagine the brackets or the Invisalign attachments are stuck on your teeth. I recommend you get it done before or after your braces journey. For those who want to get whitening down at home, there are some great products I like – the Meyarn white strips.
You want to make sure that you find someone that takes the time to listen to you and that you are open with. So be open with your questions. Ask questions like how long is my treatment going to take? How are we going to get there? What tools are we going to use? Are we going to have to do extractions? Are we going to need appliances? You can have open communication and voice all these concerns with your orthodontist so that when you go home, you know you made the right decision.
It’s very important to take the time and ask your questions, get everything on the front and make sure that you’re communicating well with your orthodontist. Make sure that you guys are on the same page. Some orthodontists might ask you: are you more concerned about the speed of treatment, cost of treatment? These are things that they’re all part of your communication. If you want something quicker, maybe Invisalign will be a better option for you in a certain case. So it’s case-dependent. It all comes down to good communication with your orthodontist.
4. Be clear with your expectations!
This is what we as doctors call the chief complaint and that is your biggest concern. You should go to your orthodontic consultation with that mindset: If I had magic to fix my teeth, what would I want to change? Because if you don’t, the orthodontist might fit you to the mold of what they think is perfect. But maybe your concern is that your teeth are sticking too far forward or leaning too far back. These are all things that are very important to put on the front end. If your orthodontist gets to know what your goal is and you get to understand where your orthodontist goal is then you can work together and get to that result. They’ll give you a timeline about what tools are going to use to get you to that destination.
5. Find an orthodontist who uses tools that fit your lifestyle.
Brackets, wires, aligners are all tools that orthodontist use. The destination should be the same with all of these products. Maybe you’re very concerned about the aesthetics of the journey. Maybe you don’t want braces. In doing that you can find orthodontists that are more trained with using aligners or you want to use lingual braces. Certain orthodontists have an affinity towards lingual braces. They like using lingual braces more than they like using braces that are on the front side of your teeth or aligners. So finding an orthodontist that’s well equipped with the tools that you’re interested in. At least get a consultation with them and explain your concerns and see if you are a candidate for these products.
These last three points were similar and the bottom line is that they all require open communication. I think it’s very important to be open with your orthodontist and have these conversations early on so that there are no surprises down the road. Because a lot of the time the last thing you want is to have a situation where you don’t like it or they’re not listening to you. That’s the worst thing that could happen in this entire process. You invest a lot of time, money and you want to have that result that you can cherish for the rest of your life. This is something you see whenever you smile. You want to be happy with the result.