Finding the right orthodontist is important. This is true whether the work is being done on you or your son or daughter. Finding a good orthodontist isn’t enough—you want to find a great one. After all, this is someone with whom you are going to spend years working to heal and perfect your smile. You don’t just want to pick a name at random from a Google search. Here are a few things that you can do instead.
The obvious and easiest place to get started is with your current friends, neighbors and colleagues. If those friends and social contacts are parents, in particular, are great reservoirs of resources when you need to find an orthodontist. Even if their own kids don’t have braces, they can ask their own parent friends who have children with braces, which orthodontists they use and why… and why they didn’t choose the orthodontist they didn’t choose. You need to get as many details as you can. It is good to find out both the good and the bad. The reason you should be asking your friends and family about this topic is because they will be far more candid with you and be more willing to tell you about their own experiences. Not just that but they will know you and your child and will know which orthodontist will work the best with your personalities and needs.
Talk to your insurer. Some insurance companies have strict limitations when it comes to orthodontists. They will let you work with some. They will not let you work with others. Make sure, before you actually hire an orthodontist that you make sure that the one you have chosen is within your insurer’s network. You don’t want to choose someone and find out that your insurance won’t cover their treatment of you. Orthodontics are too expensive to not take this precaution as you work.
Do some background checking of your own. Make sure that the orthodontist has the required education, degrees and training. You can contact the American Association of Orthodontics as well as the American Board of Orthodontics when you need or want to find out this sort of information.
Before you definitively hire an orthodontist, ask for a consultation or a meeting. Most orthodontists will at least meet with you for free to suss out your needs. That first appointment is a great time to learn both about the new orthodontic approaches as well as your potential orthodontist’s view on them. You can figure out whether the two of you would be a good fit to work with each other. You can also use the appointment as a chance to check out the office—see how helpful and friendly the staff may be, how welcoming the environment may be, etc.
Most importantly, do not ever be afraid to ask questions. Ask every single question that comes to mind, no matter how insignificant it may seem. You need to be able to tell not just whether your orthodontist will be open to his/her patient asking questions but to tell how well the orthodontist can help you understand the answers to the questions you’ve asked.
Obviously there isn’t going to be any rush to choose an orthodontist…at least not yet. You are allowed to take at least a little bit of time to figure out who is out there, who you are allowed to see, and whether or not you are a good fit with a particular orthodontic practice. Remember, you and your orthodontist are going to be on a years’ long journey together. You need to make sure you found the right person.