Braces and Invisalign are a big but worthwhile investment
- Braces and Invisalign are being offered in a variety of settings as healthcare delivery continues to evolve
- In addition to expecting a great result, patient’s should also expect to have a readily available doctor, a clean and modern clinic, and a positive patient experience
- Before you sign up for treatment, use this checklist as a guide to gauging whether or not you’re signing up with the right doctor
Our options as consumers are growing by the day. In many cases, the choice of which product or service to buy can be overwhelming given the amount of information out there. Shopping for healthcare is no different: we expect a high quality result, an affordable price, and impeccable customer service. When I was searching for an eye doctor a few months back I first asked friends for recommendations and then went to Google and Yelp to do a little more research. Finding the right orthodontist is no different.
Here’s an orthodontic checklist of what you should look out for to ensure you get a good result, have a positive experience, and don’t waste too much time at each appointment
First and foremost, you want to make sure the doctor performing your treatment is actually an orthodontist. That means they have several additional years of training on how to best straighten your teeth and align your jaws. Many dentists are offering these services but don’t have the qualifications to be an orthodontist. Once that’s been established, consider the following:
How many days per month does the office offer orthodontic services?
In some cases, an office may offer orthodontics only once or twice per month. If limited flexibility works with your schedule or if that’s the only orthodontist in your town, don’t worry about this. But if you want convenience and flexibility be sure you’re going to an office with plenty of appointment options.
How frequently will you be going in for adjustment appointments?
On average you’ll see your orthodontist every 4-8 weeks. This can make a big difference in terms of how much work or school you’ll need to miss throughout your treatment. Many offices offer early morning, evening and sometimes weekend slots to minimize your time away from work or school.
How long do patients usually wait to be seen at each appointment?
In my office, I expect every patient to be seen on time with no exception. I’ve worked at a few offices where the average wait time was almost an hour due to poor front desk scheduling. Pay attention to this and talk to existing patients in the waiting room when you go in for your initial consultation. Your time is as valuable as ours so make sure it won’t be wasted at a poorly managed office.
Do you get along with the doctor and all the staff?
Orthodontics is a long-term relationship, lasting between one and two years on average. You better make sure you love the office and all the people that come along with it.
Will your doctor be working at the office for the duration of your treatment?
If you’re going to a private office owned by one doctor, this won’t be a problem. If you’re going to a corporate dental chain or a general dental office that has hired an orthodontist, this should be a question you ask. Switching doctors mid-treatment isn’t ideal and may delay your treatment. Be sure the doctor plans to be there for the long-haul.
Beyond these big questions, soak in the environment when you visit an orthodontist for an initial consultation
Is it clean and well-maintained? Are the staff friendly? Do other patients seem happy with their experience? While it might be tempting to shop for an orthodontist based on price alone, be warned that your experience and result will vary dramatically based on the office you choose. Orthodontics should be fun, cause very little disruption to your daily schedule through convenient and fast appointments, and leave you with a positive feeling every time you visit the office. In summary, do your research and choose wisely. There’s a lot of variability out there and you should always aim for the best.