Our goal at Sawgrass Orthodontics is for you to end your treatment empowered by the confidence that comes with your new smile and because you were an important and informed participant in the process. That starts with making the best decision for your smile and oral health. You only get one smile, and you need to trust the orthodontist you choose. But how do you know if a practice is right for you? Here are 3 questions to ask when choosing an orthodontist. Let’s take a closer look at what you should know before committing to a particular practice or treatment!

Is the doctor a trained orthodontic specialist?

This question might be the most important one to ask when you’re looking into treatment with braces or Invisalign. That’s because some general dentists are also able to provide orthodontic treatment, even though they don’t specialize in it. 

A general dentist will typically offer common dental services such as crowns, fillings, dentures, and occasional orthodontic treatment like Invisalign. An orthodontist, on the other hand, spends their days providing only orthodontic services. 

Orthodontists are essentially dentists who also have several years of additional specialized training and experience. This means an orthodontist has:

  • Studied the growth and maturation of the teeth and jaw
  • Been introduced to numerous case studies
  • Developed diagnostic skills
  • Learned biomechanical techniques to properly move teeth
  • Studied how to change the development of the dental alveolar complex and facial  growth of younger patients

Orthodontic residency programs are very competitive, only accepting the top dental school graduates each year. These orthodontic programs last around 2-3 years, and include full-time training that focuses on correcting orthodontic issues with braces and aligners. While there are some general dentists who are able to produce a great smile, most won’t possess the necessary skills that come from this level of orthodontic training and experience. 

questions to ask an orthodontist

What treatment options does the orthodontist offer?

Sawgrass Orthodontics has a wide variety of treatment options available to patients of all ages in Sunrise and the surrounding communities. 

Metal braces

Traditional metal braces are a tested and trusted treatment that remains popular year after year. Even though they’ve been around for a long time, they do continue to improve. They’re typically made of a mix of high-grade stainless steel, nickel, and other durable metals. Bands wrap around the back molars, and smaller metal brackets are cemented to the front surfaces of the other teeth. There is also a thin, springy metal wire that runs through the brackets, which may be fixed to the brackets by flexible elastics, metal ties, or another type of clasp. These parts work together to move your teeth where they need to go. 

Clear braces

These work the same way metal braces do, but the brackets are made out of clear ceramic rather than stainless steel. This means they blend into your teeth and are less noticeable than metal braces. They’re popular with older teen and adult patients, but since they’re larger and more prone to breaking than metal braces, they aren’t the best choice for everyone. 

Invisalign

The Invisalign system consists of custom made aligners that are nearly invisible and completely removable. There are no brackets and wires to get in your way. They move your teeth without taking away the lifestyle you currently have. They’re designed to fit your teeth snugly and comfortably, so there’s a good chance that you’ll enjoy the treatment. When worn the recommended 20-22 hours per day, and changed out weekly with the next in the set, these aligners will gradually move your teeth into the desired positions.

Invisalign Teen

Although Invisalign and Invisalign Teen work the same way when it comes to the underlying technology, Invisalign Teen was developed with the unique needs of teen patients in mind. There are a few special features that are specific to the Invisalign Teen system, including the following:

Compliance indicators

Invisalign Teen has a compliance indicator incorporated into each aligner. This will fade from blue to clear as it is used, providing a visual approximation of wear. This lets patients, parents, and orthodontists keep track of patient use. If you aren’t wearing your aligners enough it will be clear, and your doctor will be able to help you correct the issue and keep your treatment on track. 

Eruption tabs

This feature accommodates the growth of the second molars in young adults, helping to keep space open for unerupted teeth and making it possible to treat a wider range of conditions with Invisalign.

Replacement aligners

We all lose or damage things from time to time. While we encourage all of our Invisalign patients to be careful with their aligners, teens don’t need to worry about misplacing or losing one. Invisalign Teen anticipates it happening, and provides up to six replacement aligners at no charge, just in case!

The truth about Invisalign

How frequent are follow-up visits with the orthodontist?

You can expect regular check-in appointments with Dr. Penny or Dr. Kristen at our Sunrise office, no matter what treatment option you choose. Most patients will come in every 4-6 weeks so we can check on your progress and make sure there aren’t any problems. Dr. Kristen or Dr. Penny will replace any worn-out rubber bands, check the progress your teeth are making, and make adjustments to the wires to ensure that the teeth are moving in the right direction. 

Invisalign patients may be seen slightly less frequently, but these appointments are still an essential part of the orthodontic process, so you don’t want to miss them! 

While treatment time will always vary from case to case, the average patient will spend anywhere from 12-36 months in treatment. You’ll be seeing us often throughout your orthodontic journey! We know how busy today’s families are, so we never overbook patients and always aim to see you at your scheduled time.

Don’t trust your smile to anything less than the best!

If you’re looking for the best in high-quality orthodontic care, Dr. Penny and Dr. Kristen have the education, skills, and expertise necessary to create a beautiful smile with long-lasting results. If you’re ready to take the first step in your orthodontic journey, we would love to meet you and talk more about how we can help you achieve the smile you desire. There’s never been a better time to take the first step towards improved oral health, so get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Penny or Dr. Kristen once they’ve answered these questions to ask when choosing an orthodontist!

- Dr. Langford

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