Have you always wanted to improve your smile or correct your bite? Do you wonder if braces or Invisalign are right for you or your child?
Are you worried about the price, or how long it will take?
If you need help figuring out treatment options read the following guide.
You’ll learn what you need to know before choosing an Austin orthodontist.
Should You Consider an Orthodontist?
An orthodontist prevents, diagnoses and treats facial and dental irregularities. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children have an orthodontic screening and growth evaluation by age 7. It’s also important to note that it is never too late to start orthodontic treatment. Some estimates show more than half of patients in orthodontic treatment are adults.
If you have an overbite, underbite, crowded teeth, gaps or spaces, then braces or Invisalign(R) can correct the problem. Sometimes, crooked teeth or a bad bite can contribute to TMJ or other painful symptoms, as well as make brushing and flossing more difficult.
It’s an investment not just in your smile, but your overall dental health.
The benefits of orthodontic treatment include a healthier mouth with easier to clean teeth, a beautiful smile, and teeth that are likely to last a lifetime.
Choosing the right orthodontist is a big decision. Keep reading for more information.
What is a Certified Orthodontist?
Did you know that all orthodontists are dentists, but only 5% of dentists are orthodontists?
Orthodontists complete an additional 2-3 years of specialty training after dental school, in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.
An orthodontist graduates from dental school to receive his or her DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) and then completes an orthodontic residency to obtain a specialty degree.
Although the orthodontist is a dentist, orthodontists limit their practices to dentofacial orthopedics and orthodontics.
This focus means specialists have the most experience moving teeth and aligning bites. This makes them the most qualified professionals to deliver excellent orthodontic treatment.
General Dentists May Perform Orthodontics
Some family dentists may do some orthodontics or Invisalign(R) work, but they haven’t completed the education required to be an orthodontist. Most have only taken weekend classes or gone to a seminar on the procedures.
General dentists are licensed to perform all types of dentistry. They usually focus on restorative work and cleanings. They’re known for crowns, fillings, implants, and bridges.
How Do You Know if Your Orthodontist is Certified?
That’s easy. Ask the staff or doctor, look at the brochures, business cards, signage, and website of your Austin orthodontist. Does it state that the doctor is a certified specialist in orthodontics?
Does the website say orthodontist or orthodontics? If it only mentions braces, then the doctor is most likely a dentist. Only certified orthodontists can say they offer orthodontics in their office.
If you’re having trouble determining the doctor’s qualifications, ask. The receptionist or doctor will be able to answer your question.
Look for the Latest Technology
Does the doctor use up-to-date technology like digital x-rays, chemical-free steam sterilization, a digital scanner, accelerated orthodontic procedures, and paperless communication?
These techniques can improve treatment outcomes and efficiency. Better technology ensures that you are benefiting from the latest advancements in orthodontics.
You want an orthodontist who stays current with modern treatments as well as the latest advancements in technology and continuing education.
The latest options for braces and Invisalign(R) offer improved comfort and better outcomes. They also reduce the amount of time spent in the orthodontist’s office.
What is the Payment Structure?
Most orthodontists use a comprehensive fee structure. One price covers all the appointments, x-rays, photos, appliances, and retainers.
The fee is broken into a down payment, and then monthly payments that work with your budget. Most offices offer interest-free payment plans with no credit check.
Read all paperwork carefully to understand all fees. In some cases, there may be an extra cost for retainers, additional aligners or increased months in treatment.
Beware, some offices will quote a low fee, then add charges for additional services.
If you have questions, be sure to ask before you sign any contract or agreements.
Does the Orthodontist Offer Payment Plans?
Your Austin orthodontist should offer financing options. These can include:
- Interest-free financing
- Low monthly payments
- Flexible spending accounts
- Credit card payments
- Family discounts
- Paid-in-full discounts
Orthodontists will work with you to find a payment that works within your budget.
A great smile and healthy mouth are worth the investment. In fact, studies show that people benefit from orthodontics throughout their lifetime. The improvement in self-esteem and confidence is immeasurable. It is also easier to care for and clean teeth that are aligned.
Types of Braces
There are four basic types of treatment in use today.
Metal Braces: Traditional and Self-Ligating
Some patients choose the traditional orthodontic treatment known as metal braces.
These braces include a bracket applied to the teeth and a bendable metal wire. The wire is threaded through the brackets to apply pressure that will move the teeth.
Today’s metal braces move teeth faster and with less pain then braces used 20 years ago. They are much smaller than previous versions, making them less noticeable.
Many kids like to choose the color of the rubber bands around each bracket. It gives them a chance to personalize their braces.
Metal braces with no ties are called “self-ligating.” The wire is held in place with a small door that is on the actual braces. The door closes to keep the wire in place.
The orthodontist opens the door to remove the wire and put in a new one.
Ceramic Braces or Clear Braces
Ceramic braces or clear braces are a good option for people who don’t want their braces to stand out.
Clear braces work the same way as metal braces but are less noticeable. They may be more expensive at some offices or only offered for the upper teeth.
At one time, these were the most in-demand type of treatment.
There are several brands of clear bracket available today. If an inferior clear bracket is used it may discolor and stain.
Ask your doctor what type of clear bracket they use, and if they’re prone to staining. A good clear bracket should not stain or discolor.
Clear braces have the same discomfort level as traditional braces.
Lingual braces are placed behind the teeth. They can be metal or ceramic.
People in public positions tend to choose these so their braces don’t show if they are not a candidate for Invisalign.
These braces can be uncomfortable for your tongue. Lingual braces are harder to keep clean since the wearer can’t see them.
They usually cost more than regular metal and ceramic braces. Few orthodontists offer lingual braces because of the cost and discomfort.
Invisalign(R) and Invisalign Teen(R)
These are a series of clear, removable aligners that the patient wears 22 hours a day. They are only removed to eat and brush your teeth.
The aligners are changed every one to two weeks and the teeth are gradually straightened.
Invisalign(R) is a great option for people who are busy with work or after school activities because they require significantly fewer visits to your orthodontist. There are no emergencies such as broken braces.
A big advantage to aligners is you can remove them to clean your teeth, take selfies or eat whenever (and whatever) you want.
The aligners are very comfortable and fit most lifestyles. In fact, most movements that were traditionally done with braces can now be done with Invisalign(R).
If you are told you aren’t a candidate for Invisalign(R) it’s important to check that your doctor is an experienced provider.
Some orthodontists don’t use a lot of Invisalign(R) and aren’t comfortable with the system. Other orthodontists have treated hundreds of cases and have extensive training specifically for Invisalign(R).Not all orthodontists have extensive Invisalign experience.
Keep in mind, if you don’t wear your Invisalign(R) the amount of time your orthodontist prescribed, you won’t get the desired results.
Invisalign(R) is generally the same price, or close to the same price as traditional braces. However, some doctors charge quite a bit more for Invisalign(R).
Consult an Austin Orthodontist Today
Now that you have a better understanding about braces and Invisalign(R), it’s time to find your specialist and start your journey to a beautiful, healthy smile.
Do some research on which Austin orthodontist will match your needs for treatment, price, and location.
If you need more information, contact Moody Orthodontics for a free consultation.
We’d love to meet you to discuss how we can give you the best smile possible!