1. How qualified and experienced is this orthodontist?
First, be sure you are considering an orthodontist for your child’s treatment, not a dentist. While a family dentist can be a fantastic provider of routine dental care, a dentist has not received the additional specialized education and training that an orthodontist completes. A licensed orthodontist typically completes specialized clinical training that includes between 4,000 to 6,000 hours of working on patients within a supervised environment. A licensed orthodontist is the best choice for shifting your child’s teeth into the correct alignment and addressing issues like overcrowding or bite misalignment. While many dentists today do offer Invisalign straightening, keep in mind that these dentists will not have received advanced orthodontic training and may not be qualified to address more complex cases.
Next, ask the orthodontist to see “before and after” patient photos that cover treatment for the same orthodontic procedures that your child needs. Compare these treatment photos and the orthodontist's recommended treatment plan to what your family dentist originally recommended. Don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion from another orthodontist. At Docbraces, our orthodontists offer a free second opinion check for all patients. It’s critical that you’re comfortable and confident in the recommended orthodontic treatment plan.
2. What do other parents have to say about this orthodontist?
Even if a close friend or family member referred you to this orthodontist, it’s still important to dig a bit deeper into what other patients have to say about their family’s experience. For example, what are parents posting about their child’s experience on third-party review sites? While it’s helpful to take online reviews with a grain of salt – people typically don’t post unless they’re upset or dissatisfied – multiple pages of negative reviews can be a huge red flag.
As you read these reviews, look for patterns in the comments. Do parents consistently complain about how difficult it is to schedule appointments before or after school? Are patients dissatisfied with the orthodontist’s chairside manner? Perhaps the orthodontist receives rave reviews but the practice’s billing model or approach to insurance reimbursement is a source of constant frustration. Even if these issues are not deal breakers for your family, it’s still a good idea to consider whether another orthodontist might be a better fit or offer a higher level of service for the same cost.
3. What are my payment options?
Orthodontic treatment represents a major financial investment in your child’s future oral health. Even if your insurance company will help offset some of this cost, flexible payment options can make the difference between a treatment plan that’s affordable and accessible and costly care that’s simply out of reach for your family’s budget. At Docbraces, for example, our orthodontists work closely with insurance providers to streamline the billing process. We bill a patient’s insurance company directly and then work with that patient to split up the remaining balance over manageable monthly payments. Our flexible, interest-free payment plans require no credit check. Docbraces also offers multi-patient discounts designed to lessen the burden of treatment costs on a family. Every orthodontist is slightly different, however, so it’s wise to ask your provider directly about their payment policy.