There are certain doctors you visit much more often than others, like seeing your general practitioner for your annual physical or a common cold. Seeing your dentist once or twice a year is routine for most people, but occasionally we need to see a specialist for more advanced dental issues. Oral surgeons can help when we need our wisdom teeth removed, for example, and orthodontists are there for us when we need to correct an overbite, underbite, or straighten out our teeth. If your dentist has recently told you that you or your child should consult an orthodontist to correct some alignment issues, it’s important to find the right doctor for your needs! Below we’ve outlined some basic questions to ask your new dentist to get a better understanding of whether or not they’re a good fit for you and your needs.
1. “What is your orthodontic care experience?”
There are many factors involved in gaining experience, but understanding your doctor’s background will help you make an informed decision on whether or not they have the hands-on experience you’re looking for. Their education is a good place to start, but the amount of time they’ve been practicing will be your best indicator of their experience. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) has rigorous training to admit new members, so check to see if they are a member of this group. You can also ask around to family members and friends to see if they’ve visited an orthodontist that they would recommend!
2. “How long will my specific treatment take?”
Unfortunately, no time estimate for orthodontia can be exactly perfect. An experienced orthodontist, however, should be able to give you a good idea of how long your specific treatment will take. The AAO estimates most patients wear braces for about two years, but the timing can be longer or shorter depending on your needs. Ask your doctor how often you should expect to see them so you can get a feel for your schedule, timeline, and the regular involvement your orthodontist will have during the process.
3. “How much will my procedure cost?”
For most of us, cost is one of the biggest factors in any treatment. Ask your orthodontist what the expected out-of-pocket costs are, how your insurance may be able to help, and what kind of payment plans may be available to you. You can definitely shop around to different orthodontists to compare costs, and remember that more expensive doesn’t always mean higher quality. If you find someone who is offering exceptionally low prices, however, do more research. Things that appear too good to be true often are.
Finding a new doctor who you and your child trust is an important step in your oral healthcare journey. It’s crucial to find a doctor who feels right to you and it’s okay to spend some time looking to find the right fit. Your dentist will be able to make initial recommendations, so don’t hesitate to ask them for advice!
If you have questions about orthodontics, or if you would like to schedule a routine checkup, give us a call at Oak Park Dental Group in Chicago today!