What is an Orthodontist?
Orthodontists and dentofacial orthopedists are a dental specialty that straighten your teeth. Straight teeth are very important and not just for visual beauty. Straighter teeth will help you eat, including chewing and biting, and speak more effectively. Aligning your jaws and teeth contributes to healthier gums and teeth as well as your self-confidence when smiling or talking.
According to the American Dental Association, orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics is the dental specialty that includes the diagnosis, prevention, interception, and correction of malocclusion, as well as neuromuscular and skeletal abnormalities of the developing or mature orofacial structures. Orthodontists have 2-3 years after dental school in specialized education at straightening teeth.
Many orthodontists and dentofacial orthopedists belong to the American Association of Orthodontists in Saint Louis, Missouri. Their website MylifeMysmile.org is available for more information about orthodontists, treatments, and recommendations.
Things to consider when choosing an orthodontist
- Quality of work: Ask to see pictures if you can’t see the patient's mouth first hand.
- Service: Ask the current patients or better yet, sit and observe, how the staff treats current patients. You may also want to observe if the appointments run as scheduled or if they run late as well as the length of the appointment.
- Availability: Ask what days/hours they are open. Some offices have evening hours. Most don’t.
- Price: Compare at least two practices. This is a difficult one, but prices vary from office to office and they won’t give you a price until they have evaluated the patient. Insurance may also limit your choices, but remember orthodontia charges are typically above the max limit. If you start work early with a palate expander, the amount toward your lifetime limit will be met not long into your braces phase.
- Reviews: Research online reviews-they are a valuable resource. They can give you a better picture of whether patients received quality care by the orthodontist.
Find, compare & rate orthodontists near you
Learn more about braces & orthodontists:
Common words heard in an orthodontist office
Tips for brace wearers
Tips for an orthodontic retainer
Orthodontists are also known as: orthodontic treatment, orthodontic care, orthodontic dentist, orthodontic office, & orthodontia office.