what-to-ask-when-choosing-an-orthodontist

What To Ask When Choosing An Orthodontist

Posted on November 30, 2020 by Dr. Damon Szymanowski.

Here at Szymanowski Orthodontics, we believe that educated patients make the best partners in any orthodontic journey! It’s our goal to help you feel empowered and informed from your first appointment to the last. We know choosing to improve your oral health with orthodontic treatment is a big decision, and your smile is too important to trust to anything less than an experienced orthodontist. But what if you’re not sure where to start? To help you begin your orthodontic journey, we’ve put together a guide on what to ask when choosing an orthodontist. 

Keep reading below for a more detailed look at what you should know before committing to an orthodontic practice for treatment!

Is the doctor a trained orthodontic specialist?

As obvious as it seems, this is probably the most important question you can ask when choosing an orthodontist. 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.

This distinction matters. Imagine for a moment that you or your child required specialized treatment or surgery. Would you feel comfortable with your family physician handling your case, or would you prefer a dedicated specialist? 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 extremely competitive, accepting only the top students in any dental school graduating class. These orthodontic programs tend to last around two to three years and include full-time training that focuses on correcting orthodontic issues with braces and aligners. While there are exceptions to every rule, most dentists will not possess this same level of exhaustive orthodontic training and experience.

Since 2005, Dr. Damon Szymanowski has been practicing orthodontics. In 2006, he moved back to his hometown of Sacramento and has been creating healthy, beautiful smiles here ever since! As an expert orthodontist with years of experience, you can trust that your smile is in good hands when you choose Szymanowski Orthodontics. 

what-to-ask-when-choosing-an-orthodontist

What treatment options does the orthodontist offer?

Szymanowski Orthodontics has a wide variety of orthodontic treatments available to patients of all ages, including traditional metal braces and clear aligner therapy.

Traditional Metal Braces

Traditional metal braces are the most common type of braces and are more comfortable today than ever before. Made of high-grade stainless steel, metal braces straighten your teeth using metal brackets and archwires. With metal braces, you have the option of adding colored elastics (rubber bands) for a more unique and colorful smile.

Lingual Braces

Incognito lingual braces are made from the same materials as traditional braces. However, they’re placed on the back of your teeth so no one will ever know you’re wearing braces. Incognito lingual braces are 100% customized to your unique teeth. That means your treatment is one-of-a-kind!

Clear Braces

Sometimes called ceramic braces, this option works like metal braces but is made of clear materials and therefore a more subtle option. For this reason, ceramic braces are used mainly on older teenagers and adult patients who have cosmetic concerns. While they are visually less prominent, they do require more attention to oral hygiene as ceramic braces are larger and are 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

Clear aligners are a series of invisible, removable, and comfortable acrylic trays that straighten your teeth like braces. Not only are the aligners invisible, but they are also 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.

How frequent are follow-up visits with the orthodontist?

Whatever treatment option you choose, you can expect relatively frequent visits to your orthodontist. For most patients, adjustment appointments will be scheduled for every four to eight weeks or so in the office location most convenient for you. During these visits, Dr. Szymanowski will replace any worn-out rubber bands, check the progress your teeth are making, and make adjustments to the wires to ensure the teeth are being pulled in the right direction. 

Patients in clear aligners may be seen slightly less frequently, but these appointments are still an essential part of the orthodontic process!

While treatment time will always vary from case to case, the average patient will spend anywhere from 12-36 months years in treatment. You should be prepared to see us regularly! We know families these days are busy, and we value your time, so we never overbook patients and always aim to see you at your scheduled time.

what-to-ask-when-choosing-an-orthodontist

Trust your smile to the experts at Szymanowski Orthodontics

Are you looking for an optimal orthodontic experience? Szymanowski Orthodontics is unmatched in skill, expertise, and the level of care every patient receives! Since our sole specialty is orthodontics, you’ll receive nothing but the best in treatments, cost, and efficiency as we work to straighten your smile. Once you know what to ask when choosing an orthodontist, you can make the best decision for your orthodontic care.

If you’re ready to take the first step in your orthodontic journey, we would love to meet you and talk more about the smile you want! There’s never been a better time to go after the smile you’ve always wanted, so get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation!