You trust your heart to a cardiologist, your skin to a dermatologist, and your knees to an orthopedist. Like these specialists who study their specialty areas after their general medical education, orthodontists devote additional years of study to orthodontics after they graduate from dental school.
- After graduating from dental school, orthodontists go on for another two or more years of education just in orthodontics at an accredited orthodontic residency program.
- Only those who have successfully completed this formal education may call themselves “orthodontists” and are eligible for membership in the American Association of Orthodontists.
- Orthodontists limit their scope of work to orthodontics only.
- Orthodontists are uniquely qualified in the diagnosis, prevention of and treatment of orthodontic problems. They dedicate their professional lives to creating healthy, beautiful smiles in children, teens, and adults. Well-aligned teeth are more than attractive: they make it possible to bite, chew, and speak effectively. Orthodontic care is often part of a comprehensive oral health plan.
- Orthodontists use a variety of appliances including braces, clear aligner trays, retainers, and clear retainers to move teeth or hold them in their new positions. Because of orthodontists’ advanced education and clinical experience, they have the knowledge and skills necessary to recommend the best kind of appliance to meet every individual patient’s orthodontic treatment goals.
We offer our services to residents of Fairfax, Falls Church, Vienna, Tysons Corner, McLean, and all other DC Metropolitan Areas.
How to choose an orthodontist
Choosing an orthodontic practice to trust with the beauty of your smile or your child's smile is an important decision. Orthodontic treatment has the potential to be a long process, so you'll want to make sure you or your child are comfortable with the doctor and staff. Your orthodontic experience is something you'll remember for the rest of your life, so make sure it's something to smile about.
Selecting an orthodontist may seem like a daunting task for someone who has never been through it, so it's a great idea to ask for a recommendation from someone who has. Whether it's a friend, co-worker, or family member, they'll probably be more than happy to share their first-hand experience. Your general dentist is also a great resource to get a recommendation. If their children have had braces, ask which orthodontist they used.
Consider education and experience.
Once you have a list of a few orthodontists, do a little research. Find out about their educational background, where they went to school, and what kinds of continuing education or specialty training they've had. Before you set up a consultation with an orthodontist, make sure he or she is a licensed member of the American Association of Orthodontists. This ensures that they remain up-to-date on the newest and most effective clinical procedures.
During your consultation, don't be afraid to ask questions. After all, that's why you're there! It's important for you to understand what type of orthodontic issues you have and the most effective ways to treat them. The more informed you are about your own dental health, the better decisions you will be able to make.
A few things to consider:
- Is the office located near your home or work to make appointments as convenient as possible?
- Do they offer extended office hours before or after work and school?
- What types of insurance does the office work with and what kind of financing do they offer?
- Does the orthodontist and staff seem interested in making your experience personalized or do you feel like "just a number?"