7 Questions to Ask Before Choosing an Orthodontist

Updated on July 20, 2021

As the saying goes,” A smile is worth a thousand words.” Unfortunately, some people don’t go the extra mile to protect theirs. Oral care is just as important as the rest of your body’s health, and it should be taken seriously.

With the influx of teeth-straightening options like aligners and braces, more dental offices are offering orthodontic services. But who can you trust?

If you need help with choosing an orthodontist, take a look at the information below.

Choosing an Orthodontist

Picking the right orthodontist is a big decision. Unlike a regular dentist, they are in charge of your teeth-straightening treatments and other extensive oral care.

Therefore, choosing an orthodontist should be carefully planned and thought out. Here are some tips that the American Board of Orthodontics suggests the following tips. 

Create a List of Orthodontists in Your Area

  • Ask family and friends for referrals for orthodontists they know and trust
  • Search for board-certified orthodontists in your area on the ABO website


  • If someone refers you, verify that their recommendations are trained specialists
  • Check to see if the orthodontist is board certified using the locator on the ABO website

Meet With an Orthodontist for Consultation

  • Ask the orthodontist specific questions to help you make the best decision
  • Talk about the recommended course for treatment and other oral care options
  • Discuss associated prices and see how they compare to the common orthodontist fees 
  • Confer about insurance options

During your consultation, ask the specific questions below.

1. Are You a Board Certified Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dentist who finishes a graduate program in dentistry and receives their Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine.

However, a board-certified orthodontist has also completed a residency in a CODA-accredited orthodontic course. The program is an additional two to three years. Plus, students are taught specifically about dentofacial orthopedics and orthodontics.

Although board certification doesn’t determine how well the dentist will treat your teeth, it does show their commitment to providing superior service.

While you’re asking about certification, follow up the question by inquiring about their license and insurance credentials.

2. How Often Are Follow-Up Visits?

When undergoing orthodontic treatment, follow-up visits are required. However, your dentist might make adjustments to your maintenance.

It’s important to talk to orthodontists about the frequency of appointments beforehand. Make sure both of you are on the same page about how often you can come in for a follow-up.

3. What Are the Pros and Cons of Each Treatment?

Most orthodontist offices have several options for services. There are pros and cons for each, and different price ranges. Have the orthodontist offer their professional advice about the treatment that’s right for you.

4. Can You Provide Patient References?

This one is a biggie because if an orthodontist has been in business and doing good work, there should be patient referrals. You could always check their business website to see if they’ve posted testimonials from other clients.

If you want to take it a step further, ask for a few names of people you could call.

5. Do You Perform All of the Work?

When choosing an orthodontist, make sure they are as hands-on as possible. In some dental offices, the orthodontist may not be present to do your treatments. They might come in to perform certain tasks and leave the remainder of the work to an associate.

When you have your consultation with the orthodontist, ask them if they personally bend wires, tighten braces, fit aligners, etc. If not, ask about the associate’s level of expertise.

6. Do You Only Provide Orthodontic Treatment?

Some dentists can only perform work within the specialty in which they’re trained, like orthodontics. However, some orthodontic offices also provide general dentistry services like extractions, root canals, and cavity fillings.

Sometimes the orthodontist is also skilled in those areas or works in an office with another person who performs general dentistry. Picking a multi-skilled orthodontist office makes things easier.

7. What Dental School Did You Graduate From?

The last important question to ask the orthodontist is where they went to school. Check the office for plaques and other proof, and search the web for more information about the institution they attended.

It’s also important to ask where they completed their Orthodontic Residency Program. Knowing this information will help you determine if they have a level of training that’s up to your standards. 

Choosing an Orthodontist: Bonus Tip

One of the best ways to choose an orthodontist is to look up reviews. By searching on Google, you can find in-depth information about the orthodontist and the office staff. Most Google and Yelp reviews are from honest people who are sharing their experiences.

Using this method allows you to get to a no-fluff opinion about the orthodontist you’re considering. Look through several reviews and check to see if there’s a common thread of the same type of complaints.

However, understand that everyone is different. If a person gives a negative review regarding something that’s not a deal-breaker for you, disregard it.

Put Your Smile in the Right Hands

When it comes to your oral care, you want to pick the absolute best person. Asking these questions before choosing an orthodontist might seem extensive, but it’s worth the extra effort. Everyone has heard horror stories of dental work gone wrong—don’t let that be you!

Did you learn something from this article? If so, feel free to browse more of our posts. Our blog is centered around the healthcare industry, and our goal is to keep you informed.

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The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.