Orthodontists specialize in aligning the jaws and teeth, which is a more specialized discipline within dentistry. Follow these four steps to choose the best orthodontal specialist for you.
1. Talk to Your Dentist
While an orthodontist is a dentist, not every dentist is an orthodontist. Dentists keep your teeth healthy and treat issues such as gingivitis and cavities, while orthodontists focus on healthy alignment of the teeth and jawbones. If you think you or your child requires orthodontic treatment, talk to your dentist. If your dentist is also a practicing orthodontist, he or she may be able to provide treatment. If not, your dentist should be able to provide you a referral and will need to stay informed about any prescribed orthodontic treatment.
2. Review Your Orthodontic Needs
Your orthodontic needs can determine where you should go for orthodontic treatment. Some people may only need superficial cosmetic realignments while others may have more severe issues that cause pain, difficulty chewing or speaking or emotional distress, among other symptoms. If you or your child has an issue that requires more in-depth or delicate care, that may require a more specialized orthodontist or treatment.
3. Check for Orthodontists in Your Area
Once you’ve spoken with your dentist and know what kind of orthodontic care you may need, you can look at the available orthodontists in your area. If your dentist was able to give you a referral, start there. You don’t necessarily need to follow that referral, but it’s a good resource.
Check which of the local orthodontists seem likely to meet your needs. You also need to check whether your insurance covers orthodontic care and which orthodontists will accept your insurance. Call each practice you’re interested in and don’t be afraid to ask questions to gauge the practice’s professionalism and customer service as well as the orthodontist’s credentials. You want to be comfortable with the care you receive as much as you want the best care for your needs.
4. Make Sure the Orthodontist You Choose is Board-certified
Lastly, it’s important you check the credentials of your orthodontist. Make sure he or she has the necessary dental school and orthodontic program credentials, as well as experience in the field and in your specific needs. Your orthodontist should be board-certified and have a proven success rate in his or her specialty or specialties.
If you require an orthodontic care, it’s important to discuss your needs and options with your dentist and then with the orthodontist you choose.