Four Essential Things to Consider When Choosing an Orthodontist

Posted on: 2 January 2018


Choosing an orthodontist is something that many people have to do at some point, and whether you're choosing for yourself or for your children, it can seem like a huge, complicated decision. While it can depend on the type of treatment required and how many local options you have, there are a few things that you will need to think about, and this article lays out four of the most common ones. 

1. One of the first things you should do is look at the qualifications of any orthodontist you are considering. Most family dentists are not specialists in orthodontics, and although many of them know how to apply braces and other orthodontic treatments, it is usually preferable to choose someone who is trained and registered as an orthodontist. The Australian Society of Orthodontists lays out the requirements to be a fully qualified orthodontist as opposed to a family dentist, including clinical experience and an extra university degree in orthodontics. You might also be interested in finding out where they studied dentistry and how many years of experience they have as an orthodontist. Finally, make sure that they are up to date and forward thinking in terms of what treatments they provide. 

2. For many people, the cost of orthodontic treatment is one of the main things to consider when choosing an orthodontist. While children may be eligible for some state-subsidised orthodontic treatment, it's likely that adults will have to foot the treatment bill themselves. Orthodontics Australia estimates the average treatment costs to range from $5,000 to $9,000, depending on your needs, and in all likelihood, you won't notice a huge amount of difference in cost between different orthodontists. There are two questions you need to ask here. The first one is what is included in the price—for example, are emergencies and repairs included? How many appointments will you get for your money? Secondly, you need to think about the payment plans that are offered and whether they allow you to spread the costs of your treatment in a way that is realistic and affordable for you. 

3. You may also want to consider how they are regarded by past patients. Search for reviews online and pay attention to the specifics, or even ask the orthodontist to provide references from previous payments. If you see anything that you consider a red flag, such as complaints about unfair pricing or rude staff, look elsewhere.

4. The last thing that you might want to think about is the practice itself and how it is run. Does the office open at times that are convenient for you, and is it easily accessible for you? Look at how the office is decorated, how clean it is, and how much pride the staff take in it. How many staff does the office have, and what work and procedures are they trusted to do? If they will be doing any significant amount of work on your teeth, what are their qualifications? These questions are often overlooked but have a huge impact on your experience. 

While there is a lot to consider when picking an orthodontist, the above considerations will go a long way towards choosing the perfect practitioner for your needs. This a choice where you should be picky; choose only the orthodontist that you are comfortable with and whose work will give you the smile you've always wanted.