3 Questions To Ask When Choosing An Orthodontist

We’re lucky to live in a time where you can learn about literally anything by simply opening up a tab and typing in a few search terms. However, information overload is definitely a real thing! There are a lot of important factors to consider as you explore the idea of orthodontic treatment, and it’s not unusual to find yourself feeling a little overwhelmed by terms and phrases that you’re unfamiliar with. If you’ve been thinking about straightening your smile with orthodontics but aren’t sure where to begin, RiverView Orthodontics is here to help! 

Every smile is unique, and yours is no different. You shouldn’t trust it to anything less than an expert! The first step in any orthodontic journey should be finding an experienced provider you feel confident in (and comfortable with.) There are a number of questions you should ask before making an informed decision about your orthodontic care.To get you started, we’ve outlined our Top 3 questions below, so keep reading to learn more about what to ask when choosing an orthodontist! 

Is the doctor a trained orthodontic specialist?

This may seem like a completely obvious question, but you’d be surprised! On top of offering common dental services like cleanings and crowns, some dentists are also able to provide orthodontic care. However, most do not specialize in orthodontics. That’s why this is actually one of the most important things you can ask when looking into orthodontic treatment for you or your child. 

A general dentist may offer certain types of orthodontic treatment along with their regular services, but these do not tend to be the main focus of their practice. An orthodontic practice, on the other hand, will normally be focused on providing nothing but orthodontic treatment and services. 

This is an important distinction! Think about it in terms of your general health. Sure, you could theoretically have your appendix removed or a bypass performed by your general physician. But wouldn’t you prefer a highly trained surgeon who does procedures like this on a regular basis? Your oral health deserves a similar level of consideration. 

An orthodontist is essentially a dentist who has undertaken several additional years of specialized training and education. An experienced orthodontist like Dr. Mike Upton will have:

  • studied the growth and maturation of the teeth and jaw
  • been introduced to numerous case studies
  • developed diagnostic skills
  • learned biomechanical techniques to properly move teeth
  • studied how to change the development of the dental alveolar complex and facial  growth of younger patients

Sounds pretty daunting, right? There’s more! Orthodontic residency programs tend to be very competitive, and generally accept only the top students in any dental school graduating class. They usually last two or three years, and include intense full-time training with a focus on correcting orthodontic issues safely and effectively. While there are always exceptions to every rule, most general dentists don’t possess this same level of training and expertise.

Dr. Upton has been offering world-class orthodontic care for more than 20 years, and has transformed smiles, increased self-esteem, and improved confidence for patients of all ages along the Black Warrior River since 2005. After graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor of Science, Dr. Upton earned his Doctorate of Dental Medicine from the University of Alabama School of Dentistry. This was followed by earning a Master of Science and completing his orthodontic residency.

Your smile will be in the most capable hands when you choose RiverView Orthodontics for all your orthodontic needs! Our sole focus is providing patients with the very best orthodontic care and treatment. Our talented team performs teeth straightening procedures daily, and we keep up to date on the latest in industry practice by utilizing online and in-person continuing education courses throughout the year.

3 Questions To Ask When Choosing An Orthodontist

What treatment options does the orthodontist offer?

We’ve seen impressive advancements in orthodontic technology in recent years, and some truly innovative techniques, too. That means we’re able to offer more options than ever before for achieving an exceptional smile! Our practice is proud to offer the following treatments.

Traditional Metal Braces

Traditional metal braces are the most common type of braces and are more comfortable today than ever before. Made of high-grade stainless steel, metal braces straighten your teeth using metal brackets and archwires. With metal braces, you also have the option of adding colored elastics for a more unique and colorful smile.

Clear Braces

Also known as ceramic braces, these work like metal braces do, but are composed of high-quality clear materials. This makes them a much more subtle option than metal brackets. While they are visually less prominent, they do require more attention to oral hygiene as ceramic braces are larger and are more brittle than their metal counterparts. For these reasons, they are used mainly on older teenagers and adult patients who have cosmetic concerns.

Invisalign and Invisalign Teen 

Instead of brackets and wires, the Invisalign system uses a series of customized aligners to straighten your teeth gently over time. These aligners are almost invisible and also removable, giving you the freedom to eat and drink whatever you want while in treatment. This also makes it easier to brush and floss properly! The aligners are designed to fit comfortably over your own teeth, and have no metal to cause mouth abrasions during treatment.

How frequent are follow-up visits with the orthodontist?

Whatever treatment option you choose with your orthodontist, there will be regularly scheduled follow-up visits throughout the treatment process. At RiverView Orthodontics, we generally schedule these for every 4-8 weeks or so, depending on whether you’re utilizing braces or Invisalign aligners. During these appointments, Dr. Upton will monitor your teeth to ensure they’re moving safely, make any necessary adjustments, and replace worn-out rubber bands if you’re wearing braces.

The total time in aligners or braces varies from patient to patients, since every smile is unique and has specific needs! In general, however, the average patient treatment time is anywhere from 12-24 months in treatment. Follow-up visits are an essential part of the process, so you should always do your best to keep these appointments. Since you’ll be seeing your orthodontist regularly over this period of time, it’s especially important to choose a doctor and practice you feel comfortable with!                                                                                                                  

3 Questions To Ask When Choosing An Orthodontist

Trust your smile to the experts at RiverView Orthodontics

Our team works hard to provide patients of all ages with compassionate care and a stress-free orthodontic experience. We’ve been creating beautiful smiles in Demopolis and Tuscaloosa for over 20 years, and would love to work with you or your child toward improved oral health! If you’re looking for personalized treatment with superior results, you’ve come to the right place. We’re now offering both virtual and in-office consultations, at no charge to you! There’s never been a better time to take the first steps in your orthodontic journey, so get in touch today to learn more about scheduling a complimentary consultation with Dr. Upton