Orthodontists are specialized dental professionals who treat various irregularities and alignment issues in people’s teeth and gums. Like every other service provider, orthodontists are judged on the basis of their experience, clientele of satisfied patients, and the reliability they offer. According to the latest data, there are more than 91,000 orthodontists across the US, and this number has grown by roughly 1.2% over the last half-decade.
Almost every city in every state has a certain density of dental professionals who specialize in fixing irregularities or alignment issues in people’s gums. So, how do you figure out how to find the best person for the job? Well, the answer to this question is simple. You assess your choices on the basis of certain factors like years in the field, academic journey, and, most importantly, patient feedback. Which of these parameters hold priority can vary from person to person. Here are some of the things to look for in a professional and reliable orthodontist:
1. Educational Expanse
Medicine is a profession where the educational journey continues longer than in any other field. The wide range of specializations and certifications associated with healthcare are like steps on a ladder. Every step cleared means the professional has knowledge about complex procedures and use of the latest tools and technologies, and has the ability to understand rare issues.
Every dental clinic has a team of professionals with varying academic qualifications. For example, Dr. Seema Dhingra at Dhingra Orthodontics earned her first dental degree and a master’s in oral medicine and dental radiology from India. After moving to the US, she earned her second dental degree and a master’s in orthodontics from Case Western Reserve University.
The higher the level of study, the more qualified you can expect the orthodontist to be. It is a good thing to look for how learned the dental professional that you are looking to visit is. This will show experience and skills and prove their commitment to the field, given that they don’t let their professional responsibilities stop them from expanding their academic qualifications.
2. Experience in the Field
The number of years an orthodontist has spent working is a great indicator of a firm grasp on their field. You can find professionals with anywhere between a couple of years of experience to several decades. All this time seeing patients means that the orthodontist has encountered everything from the same basic crooked teeth to more complex crowding. They will not only have diagnosed various issues but also provide treatment for them.
If an orthodontist has spent over half a decade working, they can be considered for consultation or treatment options. The larger this experience is, the more skills your doctor has. Visiting an orthodontist with more than a decade of work experience can help you rest assured that your dental health is in reliable hands. They can take care of you and will know the slightest sign of any emerging issues allowing them to nip it in the bud, especially before it can grow into something more damaging.
3. Recommendations From Your Social Circle
As it was pointed out earlier, an orthodontist is a service provider, and like any other professional in this particular industry, the best person to visit for your dental needs is someone who is recommended by people you trust. Whether it is your close friends or family members, these people are only inclined to endorse an orthodontist when they’ve had a great experience with them. Coming from someone you can trust, the recommendation you get will make your search much easier.
Word-of-mouth is one of the best marketing channels; people rely heavily on online reviews to judge whether they will visit a certain orthodontist or not. Rather than having to trust some stranger online, you can get a first-hand review from someone close to you. It is human nature that you are generally inclined to trust your friends and family more, especially when it comes to someone as important as an orthodontist.
4. Feedback From Previous Patients
Although getting a recommendation from someone close to you means your search has come to a fruitful conclusion, but in case you don’t, the next thing to look at is reviews from previous and current patients. This feedback is readily available online; you can try searching the clinic’s website or its numerous social media pages for it. You can even visit the clinic to interact with patients in the waiting room and get first-hand reviews about the orthodontist you are about to see.
People are usually unbiased in their opinions, and if you receive a lot of positive reviews about an orthodontist, it is a clear sign that they are good at what they do. Similarly, a bad reputation will show more online reviews essentially. If someone has a lot of mixed reviews, to the point where it is hard for you to tell whether the orthodontist is good or bad, it is best to continue looking until you find someone with a good reputation in the area.
5. Fees and Insurance
When choosing an orthodontist, insurance and budget are important considerations. Finding out if your dental insurance carrier will cover the orthodontist is more important than the doctor’s experience, location, and services for some people. If costs and coverage are your main considerations, it is best to ask your insurance provider whether orthodontists in the vicinity are included in your plan or not before you start your search.
Moreover, the fees and general charges from an orthodontist vary from clinic to clinic and from one location to the other as well. Ensure you get an idea of the associated costs beforehand so there are no surprises during treatment. Assess and judge which orthodontist falls in your budget. This is a tricky parameter because, at times, you can miss out on high-quality and reliable dental treatments just because the experienced orthodontist is falling beyond your budget.
There is no harm in stretching the spending limit in this instance because it means that your oral cavity will remain firm and healthy for a longer period of time.
Choosing the right orthodontist involves finding the perfect mix of certain qualities. These include good academic qualifications, extensive work experience, and great patient reviews. Your job can be made a whole lot easier if you can find a great recommendation from someone you trust. Either way, it is best to perform comprehensive research about any orthodontist because your oral health is the most important factor in this equation. You can’t just trust anyone to perform a good job with it.