How To Choose An Orthodontist

Pre-Consultation Considerations

Getting a recommendation from your general dentist is a start in the right direction. General dentists work with orthodontists when coordinating patient care, regularly view the results of alignment procedures and discuss their evaluations with you. Asking your dentist, friends, neighbors, coworkers and even school staff about who they would personally recommend to go to get fitted for braces narrows down your search for a good orthodontist a great deal.

Check an Orthodontist’s Qualifications

Before scheduling a consultation with an orthodontist, check to see if he or she is a licensed member of the Canadian Association of Orthodontists (CAO) which requires adherence to rigorous training and ethical standards. All orthodontists belonging to this organization have completed two to three years of full-time postgraduate classes and clinical work. Once CAO members have their own practice, they must keep up-to-date with current research and technological advances.

Questions to Ask During Your Consultation

There are very important questions you need to ask your orthodontist during your consultation such as:

  • What is your level of experience and how long have you been been practicing?
  • How extensive is your practice?
  • Do you have before-and-after photos of previous patients?
  • Did the outcome of their procedures meet your expectations?
  • How diverse and advanced are the treatments offered?
Links to Canadian Dental Associations

Canadian Dental Association

The Canadian Dental Association is dedicated to providing up-to-date information on issues that affect oral health and the practice of dentistry.

Canadian Dental Service Plans Inc.

CDSPI focuses on helping dental professionals successfully reach their goals by providing financial planning solutions and other support in a way no other organization does.

Canadian Dental Regulatory Authorities Federation

CDRAF is the national forum and collective voice of provincial and territorial dental regulatory authorities on regulatory matters. The Federation is the only organization that speaks for the over 18,000 dentists in Canada on professional regulatory issues related to the practice of dentistry.

Royal College of Dentists of Canada

The Royal College of Dentists of Canada (RCDC) was established by an Act of the Federal Government of Canada in 1965 to promote the high standards of specialization in the dental profession and to recognize properly trained dental specialists.

National Dental Examining Board of Canada

The NDEB was established by an Act of Parliament in 1952. The Act makes the NDEB responsible for the establishment of qualifying conditions for a national standard of dental competence for general practitioners, for establishing and maintaining an examination facility to test for this national standard of dental competence and for issuing certificates to dentists who successfully meet this national standard.

New Orthodontist Technologies

New technologies have made wearing teeth appliances such as translucent aligners (i.e.,Invisalign), clear brackets and bands, SureSmile systems, and temporary mini-implants less noticeable and less uncomfortable while saving time with the treatment in the process. Be sure to ask about these realignment options and also check to see if the orthodontist will laser any accumulated gum tissue around the braces while they are in place.

Other things that you should discuss is your orthodontist’s diagnosis and course of action for correcting your teeth. It’s in your best interest to invest in a treatment plan that is the most practical for your personal situation. Whatever plan of action or alternatives your orthodontist recommends should be explained clearly and thoroughly in order for you to make an informed decision.

Office Ambiance

Sometimes you can get so involved with the details of an orthodontist’s qualifications and procedures that you may forget to familiarise yourself with the atmosphere of the office your orthodontist is working in. Is the ambiance and staff friendly and inviting to you or your children? Unfortunately, many orthodontists fail to make their patients feel comfortable when they’re about to undergo a dental procedure. He or she may be highly-skilled at performing various procedures but may lack a warm, chair-side manner.

Since the average orthodontic treatment takes about two years, with follow-up appointments generally being scheduled every six to eight weeks, it’s important that you establish a rapport with your orthodontist and his or her staff. This is particularly important with pre-teens and teens who may already feel anxiety or resentment for having to wear braces. An orthodontist and staff that is kind, patient and friendly will be better able to encourage and motivate young patients to commit to a regimen of meticulous brushing and flossing after being fitted with braces or wearing a headband or a retainer, for example.

Links to Canadian Orthodontist Assocations

Canadian Association of Orthodontists

The Canadian Association of Orthodontists is the national organization and official voice for registered orthodontic specialists and is dedicated to the promotion of the highest standards of excellence in orthodontic education and quality orthodontic care.

Ontario Association of Orthodontists

The Ontario Association of Orthodontists is the official voice to organized dental associations, recognized educational institutions, professional licensing bodies, the public and government.

BC Society of Orthodontists

Founded in 1963, the British Columbia Society of Orthodontists (BCSO) has been the voice of board-certified orthodontists in British Columbia for 50 years. The organization is dedicated to promoting the highest standards of excellence in orthodontic education and quality of patient care.

Alberta Society of Orthodontists

This website offers you information to explain what an orthodontist actually is, and why you should visit an orthodontic specialist concerning tooth alignment or bite difficulties.

Provisions Offered

Although emergencies are rare, it’s always a good idea to choose an orthodontist practice that makes provisions for the unexpected. So it may be more prudent to choose an orthodontist that is conveniently located to your home, work place or child’s school. If you need to set up payment arrangements for getting you or your child’s teeth realigned, find out whether your orthodontist offers financing options. The Canadian Association of Orthodontics can advise you on patient financing it endorses or recommend alternative options. If you are facing financial hardship, ask your orthodontist if they will consider offering treatment pro bono.

Getting treatment at a dental school will also help you save money since they usually only charge a small percentage of standard orthodontic fees. Additionally, your treatment will be supervised by a seasoned orthodontist who has specialized in his field for many years.

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