A visit with your orthodontist might seem like a routine thing. That first consultation with a new orthodontist is far from routine. This is your chance to get to know the person who will be working to change the look, feel, and function of your mouth. To do that, you need to know which important questions to ask an orthodontist in order to make sure you have the right person for the job.
Questions to Ask an Orthodontist
#1. What is your background? Anyone graduating from an accredited American dental school can theoretically perform an orthodontic treatment. However, orthodontists must complete an addition three years of specialty training. While all orthodontists have to go through education and training to get into the profession, their level of education and amount of experience can vary. Consider asking: where they went to dental school, how long they have been in practice, and where they did their orthodontic specialty residency.
#2. What services, exactly, are you suggesting, and what result are we hoping for? It might be obvious to you why you are sitting with an orthodontist, but what we expect can differ from the actual services being suggested. It’s best to make sure you are on the same page. Be sure to let your orthodontist know exactly what you’d like addressed relative to your tooth alignment and bite. Put emphasis on the results and get a good idea of what successful treatment should look like when done. To learn more, explore our Orthodontic services.
#3. What are some of the other options? Most orthodontists will have a suggested course of treatment after they’ve concluded the consultation. Suggest that they walk you through their decision for this specific treatment and other alternative treatments if they exist, so you can better understand all of your options. For example, if the orthodontist recommends orthodontic treatment, ask what other cosmetic dental options there might be. Also, ask if there are other orthodontic options such as ceramic (clear) braces, self-ligating braces, and Invisalign. Ask for pros and cons of each treatment modality.
#4. What else will change? Every treatment has effects and side effects. That goes for orthodontics too. You should ask, for example, if the orthodontic treatment will change your facial profile, or affect the way you chew or talk. Most of the time, these changes will be positive, but it’s a good idea to know exactly what to expect. Remember, changes in the structure of your mouth do not happen overnight; nor should they. Orthodontic change is a slow, steady process and you should also have an idea of how long to expect treatment to last.
#5. What have you suggested to your friends and family? Ask your orthodontist whether they have suggested this type of treatment to their own family members, and what their experiences and results were like. Questions such as these help you determine the popularity and overall success of the treatment if the orthodontist is suggesting it to family members.
#6. Can you show me similar cases? Even if you are meeting with an educated, experienced orthodontist, there’s no guarantee that they know how to treat every case; each is unique. So, ask to see pictures of some of their past work to give you a better feel for their quality of work and help you to feel confident about the whole process.