Orthodontists are highly specialized dentists. Their main focus is on the prevention and treatment of “improper bites”. This is an important dental issue, as improper bites can lead to a variety of problems such as tooth irregularities, lop-sided jaws and crooked teeth. Orthodontics was actually the first sub class of dentistry to be recognized as its own specialty field. Generally speaking, it takes two to three years of extra schooling after graduating as a dentist to earn the qualifications to become an orthodontist.
When to Seek Help From an Orthodontist
Like most health related issues, the earlier you catch a dental issue the better. Orthodontic check ups are no exception. It is a widely accepted norm that by the age of at least seven all children should receive some kind of orthodontic evaluation. Many issues that orthodontists deal with can take years to fix and catching them at an early stage could end up saving you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
Most of an orthodontists work can be classified as shaping the jaw and teeth as they naturally grow in, so it is critical to stop any outstanding problems while your child is still quite young. However, even if as an adult you find out that orthodontic care may be required to fix some anomaly in your jaw or bite, don’t be worried. Orthodontists are highly skilled professionals and they have an impressive arsenal of procedures and tricks to help adults overcome their jaw imperfections. Problems untreated as an adult may result in gum disease and or teeth loss.
Tips For Selecting the Right Orthodontist
Selecting the right orthodontist can be quite a task. If a dentist recommends that you go to see one he or she will probably name a few for you to check out. Also be sure to ask your friends, family, coworkers and any good neighbours for some more recommendations. Beyond that, here are ten tips to make this task less daunting:
- Create a list of the recommended orthodontists. Write the names, numbers address etc, then leave some space beside the name for some note taking later.
- Find a block of time in your day (aim for between 9am-4pm) and start calling from the top of the list.Make sure you catch the name of the receptionist just in case you need to call back for some reason.
- Figure out if you are covered under insurance or benefits and perhaps bring it up when talking to the receptionist.
- Check to see if the orthodontist uses all the latest options for braces as well as options for trendy and “cool” accessories. These places will almost always be also using the latest and best equipment.
- Be sure to double check their payment policy. Is there an initial deposit required? Is there a payment plan? Will interest be charged?
- Ask about a consultation. Many orthodontists will do this to educate you and see if you need their help or not. This can be a great source of information as well as a second opinion.
- Check your availability so that if need be you know whether or not you can schedule an appointment with no delays.
- After you finish going through your list of numbers, read through it and decide on a few that sounded good and that you would be comfortable with.
- Call the ones you like back and schedule a consultation. Remember to ask for the same receptionist you talked to earlier so that you won’t have to repeat everything over again.
- During the consultation, be sure to ask lots of questions. A good orthodontist and staff will gladly answer all your questions. The more you know about each office, staff and individual orthodontist, the more informed decision you can make. Orthodontic treatments are usually long term and costly, so it is worth your time to do the research.