If you’ve been thinking about orthodontics for yourself or your child, finding an orthodontist can be confusing. Maybe you’ve asked your friends who they recommend, but it can still be hard to decide who is right for your family. Here are some things to consider when looking for an orthodontist.
Not all orthodontists have a certificate from the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO). As long as they have finished dental school and some special training, orthodontists do not need to be certified. However, having a diploma from the ABO can be a sign of excellence in the field. It’s important to know that even if an orthodontist is listed on the ABO website as a Board-Certified Orthodontist, it could mean they only took the written exam and not the clinical exam. There are only a few orthodontists in your area that have taken and passed both written AND clinical exams and passed.
Board-certified orthodontists must first pass a written exam, which only a handful of orthodontists are able to complete, very few of these doctors are able to complete the second step which is to present finished clinical cases before the ABO board of peers and pass! They must also keep taking education classes and renew their certificate every ten years. If they are certified, that means that your orthodontist is learning the newest information in the field to apply to their patients.
Everyone was a novice once, but it’s best to have an expert help you perfect your smile. Sites like HealthGrades allow patients to leave reviews of doctors, including orthodontists. Make sure that you look for actual reviews from patients rather than paid advertisements.
Gallery of Smiles
Another way to look at the track record of your doctor is to see if they have a before and after gallery of smiles they’ve perfected. The outcome of your orthodontic treatment solely depends on the level of expertise of your orthodontist. Each smile is different, so the results someone has do not mean your results will be the same as theirs. However, you may be able to tell what kind of orthodontics they specialize in or prefer. It also gives you a chance to look at the many different kinds of dental appliances to consider.
Accepts Your Insurance
The American healthcare system is tricky to understand and is even more so if you need orthodontic work. You should first contact your insurance company to see what kind of services are covered, if you cannot contact your insurance or don’t know what to ask, the insurance coordinator at the orthodontic office would be happy to call prior to the consultation appointment. Then, work with your orthodontist to see if they accept your insurance.
Some people still need orthodontic treatment, and it is not covered by insurance, which is more common than you think. There are times dental insurance does not have orthodontic coverage. It can be a relief to work with an office that will help you finance most of the cost of your treatment. Some offices also offer 0% financing with no credit check or special qualifications and will help you make a payment plan to cover your treatment.
Orthodontists are in a great position to give back to their community. They work closely with children and their families, their businesses provide a service, and they are in the healthcare field. Some orthodontists choose to provide low-cost or no cost treatments to less-advantaged people in their community through programs like Smiles Change Lives, Smiles for a Lifetime, and will also choose someone randomly to completely cover the cost for braces treatment.
Others may support their community in additional ways. This could mean organizing food drives and neighborhood clean-ups, or supporting programs like Best Buddies, which creates opportunities for individuals with disabilities to build friendships with others in their community.
Relates to Your Family
Getting a new kind of dental treatment can be scary. Many people suffer from anxiety about dental procedures. An orthodontist who understands exactly where you’re coming from and how you feel can go a long way toward making you feel confident. It’s also important for your orthodontist to explain your treatments in a way you understand. The ability to do this well requires experience and tailored touch. The way you explain braces to a ten-year-old is different from the way you explain them to their parent, or to an adult that is getting braces.
Treats the Whole Individual
What orthodontic treatment is best will be uniquely tailored to your needs. It depends on the starting positions of your teeth, your dental end goal, and the bone structure of your face. A good orthodontist will look at your entire face, not just your teeth. Orthodontists treat more than teeth; they can also be part of the team that treats facial abnormalities if you or your child need additional care.
I Found an Orthodontics Office, What Next?
Great! If you’ve found an office you want to work with, you just need to make an appointment forms, you can text the office phone number to schedule an appointment, and of course you can call the office to set up your appointment. Some consultants are complementary, so there is no cost for coming into the office and meeting the orthodontist and the team.
Hopefully the orthodontist you’ve found checks all your boxes. If you’re still on the fence, Dr. Angela at Palm Beach Orthodontics has over 18 years of experience and has perfected thousands of smiles. She is a patient-centered orthodontist that still believes in having fun and sharing her knowledge (and dances) on Tiktok. Call, Email, or Text our office today to set up an appointment and begin your orthodontic treatment.