Finding the right orthodontist is a big decision, and knowing the kinds of questions to ask will help you make a well informed decision. It’s important to us that our patients be well-informed and understand every aspect of their treatment before embarking on their orthodontic journey. To that end, our team here at Sawgrass Orthodontics have put together a list of 3 Important Questions To Ask Your Orthodontist before committing to treatment.

1. Are you a trained orthodontic specialist?

It might seem obvious, but this is probably the most important question you could ask. While a general dentist can provide orthodontic treatment, they’re not a specialist in the field. Orthodontists are dentists who have completed a full-time orthodontic graduate program for 2-3 years after graduating from dental school.

A general dentist will often offer common dental services such as crowns, fillings, and dentures, as well as performing some orthodontic treatment. An orthodontist is more likely to stay within their chosen field and provide only orthodontic services. Wondering why the differences matter more than the similarities? Think of your family physician.  If you or your child required specialized treatment or surgery, would you want a general practitioner to perform it? Chances are you’d feel much more comfortable in the hands of a specialist.

Orthodontists have received a Masters of Orthodontics after their doctorate degree from dental school.  They’ve studied the growth and maturation of children, been introduced to numerous case studies, developed diagnostic skills, learned biomechanical techniques to properly move teeth, and learned how to change the development of the dental alveolar complex and facial  growth of a child.  Orthodontic graduate students are also able to treat a number of patients during their 2-3 year program while they are being closely monitored and supervised by experienced orthodontic faculty.

Most orthodontists are also members of the American Association of Orthodontists, including our very own Dr. Penny and Dr. Kristen!  The American Association of Orthodontists is the largest national organization of orthodontic specialists who have met their extra educational requirements, and are in good standing to be a member.

2. Do you offer alternatives to standard or traditional braces?

Sawgrass Orthodontics is proud to offer a selection of braces treatments to suit any patient’s specific needs! While traditional metal braces are still the most common type of braces, and although modern orthodontics means they’re more comfortable today than ever before, there’s still a high demand for alternatives, and we’re happy to offer alternative options for our patients.

In addition to standard braces, we offer the following treatments:

Self-ligating braces

Self-ligating braces are made from the same materials as traditional braces. However, self-ligating braces don’t require the use of elastics, meaning fewer appointments, as well as less friction being placed on the tooth. Self-ligating braces come with traditional metal, ceramic, or clear brackets. Though they’re the same size as metal braces, they use a specialized clip in place of elastics to help the archwire guide teeth into place. This clip helps reduce the amount of pressure being placed on the tooth, and requires fewer adjustments since there are no elastics to replace.

Ceramic braces

Ceramic braces are made of clear materials and are therefore less visible on your teeth than metal braces. A popular choice for older teens and adults, they do require more attention to oral hygiene as ceramic braces are larger and more brittle than their metal counterparts. For these reasons, ceramic braces tend to be used more on upper front teeth than on lower teeth.


Invisalign clear aligners are a series of invisible, removable, and comfortable acrylic trays that straighten your teeth by slowly shifting their position over time. Not only are the aligners invisible, they are removable, so you can eat and drink what you want while in treatment, plus brushing and flossing are less of a hassle. The aligners are comfortable and have no metal to cause mouth abrasions during treatment. Dr. Penny and Dr. Kristen are both Invisalignspecialists!

Lingual braces

Lingual braces are hidden behind the teeth and are therefore “invisible” when you smile. These are 100% customized to match the shape of your teeth, as the metal appliances are created specifically for you. Lingual braces are often an option for athletes, models, actors, musicians who play wind instruments, and adult professionals.

3. How often will I or my child need to be seen for office visits?

Whatever the treatment plan, you should anticipate relatively frequent visits to the orthodontist. Picking a practice with a convenient location will make this much easier on you!

Some orthodontists have multiple office locations, but Sawgrass Orthodonticshas just one centrally located office. Because we aren’t at this location part-time, we have a larger number of appointment slots for patients. We open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, and we have extended hours on Wednesday, when we are open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. for those who need later appointment times.

Frequent follow-ups, or “adjustments,” are needed to replace worn-out rubber bands, check on your teeth’s progress, and make adjustments to the wires to make sure teeth are being pulled in the right direction. Most orthodontists see patients every 4-6 weeks for follow-ups, and skipping these can hinder progress, and may cause you or your child to need braces for a longer period of time. The average amount of time for a patient to wear braces is 1-3 years, so be prepared for a lot of these follow-up visits!  However, be assured that we know how valuable your time is to you, and we respect that. We don’t overbook our patients and we run on time, so you won’t be kept waiting before your visits.

Let Sawgrass be the orthodontist for you

With two highly qualified orthodontists, friendly and experienced support staff, and a conveniently located office with state-of-the-art technology, Sawgrass Orthodontics prioritizes a warm, inviting environment that’s focused on you. If you’re seeking information on orthodontics in Sunrise, or have questions about braces or Invisalign in Weston, Davie, and Plantation, get in touch with us today to schedule a free consultation or set up an appointment. We look forward to giving you the smile you’ve been waiting for!

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