What Makes a Good Orthodontist
An orthodontist can become a significant temporary partner for good oral health with an impact that lasts a lifetime. For this reason, the importance of choosing the right orthodontist for your care needs cannot be emphasized enough.
Whether you are new to your current geographic area or have resided there for many years, this guide will offer helpful suggestions for what makes a good orthodontist and how to choose an orthodontic professional to provide your family with care.
Make a List of Questions to Screen Orthodontists
Sometimes all you really need is a recommendation from a trusted friend or colleague. But if you don’t have that, or you prefer to do your own research, the best way to begin is to make a list of questions.
You should plan to screen at least three to five area orthodontists and compare your answers between all candidates to arrive at your final choice. By using a standard list of questions, you can see how each professional compares in the areas most important to you.
Here are some questions that you may wish to ask or use to brainstorm your own questions list:
- How long have you been practicing orthodontia?
- Do you treat adults only or patients of all ages?
- What types of treatment do you offer (i.e. braces, Invisalign, Damon, etc.)
- Do you accept the dental insurance I have (if applicable)?
- Do you work with an orthodontic team or do you do all the treatment work yourself?
- How does your office handle orthodontic emergencies/after hours care needs?
- Can you provide a list of current/past patient references?
- How are tween/teen appointments scheduled and do you have early/late appointments to accommodate school and extra-curricular activities?
Tour the Orthodontic Office
Your orthodontist will be working inside your mouth – it is hard to get any more up close and personal than that! So of course you want to ensure it will be the most comfortable and welcoming experience possible for you and any family members who need care.
A great way to get a feel for what the practice is like is to take a tour of the orthodontist’s office clinic.
You can see for yourself what the ambience is like, if there is a play area for kids waiting to be seen, how welcoming and friendly the front office staff is, if the environment looks clean and professional and other signs that tell you this is a place where you can get excellent care.
Make a Consultation to Meet the Orthodontist
During your consultation, you can sit down with the orthodontist to discuss care options, treatment methods and timelines for yourself and any additional family members who need treatment.
The importance of taking the time for this step cannot be understated. A “good” orthodontist can have all the right degrees, a wonderful office environment, a wealth of practice experience and expertise in all the latest cutting edge orthodontic methods, but if you don’t feel a sense of trust and connection with that practitioner, it still may not be the right fit for you and your family.
During your consultation, you and any other family members needing care can be examined and you can discuss treatment goals and options. If you want to pursue a particular method of care, you can also find out if you are a good candidate for that method and how long treatment is likely to take.
If you will be bringing your children, tweens or teens, you will also want to ensure the orthodontist has a good “bedside manner” to work with younger patients, who may be less naturally patient while being treated. The right orthodontist can turn orthodontic treatment into a fun and memorable experience for young patients – so much so that they may even choose a future career in orthodontics for themselves!
Ask About Cost, Insurance and Financing Options
Finally, it is important to look at how the orthodontist’s office handles charges, invoicing and payments. Will they file with your insurance on your behalf or do you have to pay out of pocket up front and apply for reimbursement?
Do some treatment methods cost more than others? Are there ways to shorten treatment time and thus the costs of treatment? Do they offer any types of special financing, discounts for whole-family or multiple patient care, payment plans or sliding scale treatment costs?
For some families, these special accommodations can not only make affording orthodontic care easier, but can actually make the difference between being able to receive care or going without. An orthodontic practice that is gracious and as accommodating as possible in this area is one worth earning your business and also referring to others.
Call Papandreas Orthodontics to Schedule Your First Orthodontic Appointment
Dr. Samuel Papandreas provides expert orthodontic care for adults, teenagers and children at his facilities in:
• Brunswick, Ohio
• North Royalton, Ohio
His patients are fitted with customized orthodontic devices that include:
• Braces – color-matching ceramic or metal devices
• Retainers – worn at night when your braces are removed
• Invisalign aligners – clear plastic devices
• Palatal expanders – worn before your orthodontic treatment begins
You can schedule an appointment with Papandreas Orthodontics to learn about the best type of orthodontic treatment for you and your children to improve your smile correct your dental bite.
Dr. Papandreas is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists, Cleveland Dental Society, Ohio Dental Association and the Schulman Study Group of top orthodontic practices nationally.