Orthodontists provide services to correct misaligned teeth. If your teeth are crowded, uneven or if they cause pain because they routinely bite the inside of your mouth, you could benefit from seeing an orthodontist.
Finding the right professional is very important. A good orthodontist can identify the problem, then implement changes to correct your teeth. If you need services from an orthodontist, you may be seeing that professional for a very long time. Finding the right partner can make that experience better overall.
When Should You See An Orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children see an orthodontist no later than age 7, as this is an age when children have a good mixture of permanent teeth and baby teeth. Having this mixture enables the orthodontist to identify irregularities in their earliest stages. It's in this stage when some problems with the teeth tend to be easiest to fix, or prevent.
That said, adults can also benefit from seeing an orthodontist. If your teeth are not straight, orthodontic appliances can still straighten your teeth, giving you a healthier bite.
Finding the Right Orthodontist
Make a list of possible orthodontists by searching on Google for the “Best Orthodontist" in your area. This type of search will return results with orthodontists of varying skill. Some of the orthodontists who appear under "best" orthodontists may not actually be the best in the area. You'll have to parse those orthodontists out from better orthodontists. We'll give you more information about researching top orthodontists farther down in this article.
Another way to find an orthodontist - and we recommend this way highly - is to ask your dentist, family and friends for recommendations. Getting a recommendation from someone who knows is an excellent way to ensure that you'll have a good experience with the professional you choose.
You can also search your local board for certified orthodontists, as this will help ensure that the professional you choose has the right qualifications to provide orthodontic services.
Research the Top Orthodontists
Once you've found a possible list of orthodontists in your area, then it's time to do some research. You're looking for signs that an orthodontist is qualified, reputable and experienced. Start by looking at their website, where they should provide detailed information about services and experience.
It's a good sign when an orthodontist has put time and effort into maintaining a professional website. It's an even better sign if an orthodontist can show meaningful "before and after" pictures from recent clients.
Some orthodontists might publish patient reviews on their site, but for those who don't, you can probably still find reviews through services like Yelp and Google Reviews. While it's important to take reviews with a grain of salt, you can still use the reviews to look for patterns - either positive or negative.
Finally, consider the orthodontist's education and experience. Hopefully the orthodontist you're considering has their experience on their website. If they don't, this could be a sign that the orthodontist has little experience - or it could be a red flag.
Meet the Best Orthodontists
Once you've chosen a few orthodontists that seem like they're right for you, meet with them. Get a consultation from more than one office. Allow the dentist to look in your mouth and discuss possible routes for treatment. Take the time to ask questions about the procedures each orthodontist recommends.
At this time, it's also helpful to review costs and discuss your insurance coverage. The amount covered by insurance varies depending on your insurer as well as the insurers accepted by the orthodontist. Having this discussion up front is important. If you are not covered by insurance, find out the potential costs and discuss payment terms to ensure you can afford the cost of treatment.
Orthodontist or Dentist?
One of the questions that people commonly ask is whether they need an orthodontist or a dentist, and what is the difference? Orthodontic specialists help straighten teeth and provide services relating to misaligned teeth. Dentists provide services relating to teeth, jaw, gums and nerves.
Orthodontists also have two to three more years of specialized training compared to dentists, and are required to pass national exams to get certified. They practice only orthodontics. They also have a unique ability to create a customized treatment plan, to ensure that your smile is bright, beautiful and straight as possible.
Pick the Best Orthodontist for You
Are you looking for an orthodontist in Raleigh? Contact Laster Orthodontics to make an appointment for a free consultation. We'll be happy to answer your questions and discuss your personalized treatment plan.
At Laster Orthodontics, we help families develop healthy, life-changing smiles using customized treatments, cutting-edge technologies, and caring relationships. Our individualized treatment plans help our patients achieve their perfect smile in the quickest, most painless way possible by utilizing a wide range of options from traditional braces to propel accelerated treatment to Dr. Laster's in-house aligner program, Laster Perfect Smile. With three locations throughout the Triangle Area, we create life-changing smiles every day.