An Adult’s Guide to Choosing an Orthodontist

Adult orthodontic treatment has been increasingly more popular over the past decade. Whether you’re straightening your teeth for the first time or you had braces in the past, but your teeth shifted after forgetting to wear your retainer, it’s never too late to achieve a healthy, beautiful smile. 

Though you can get excellent results whether you’re 25 or 75, it does depend on the orthodontist’s experience. Treating patients who are done growing and may have restorations or oral health concerns is different from treating children and teens. As someone experienced in adult orthodontics in Wayne and Oak Ridge, NJ, I’m sharing 8 things to consider when choosing an orthodontist as an adult. 

1. Is the doctor a specialist?

Some general dentists offer orthodontic treatment, usually Invisalign®. However, they are not a specialist like an orthodontist and may have only completed some weekend training. An orthodontist, on the other hand, goes to dental school and then completes two to three more years of specialty training solely focused on diagnosing, preventing and treating irregularities of the teeth and jaw. 

Since orthodontic treatment can cause permanent changes in your teeth and facial structure, it’s extremely important to see a certified specialist in orthodontics for care. Even if you have a minor case, as a specialist, an orthodontist has the expertise to move your teeth into place in a way that’s healthy, safe and will complement your unique facial features. 

For even more assurance that you’ll get outstanding care and results, look for a board-certified orthodontist. Only about 30% of orthodontists are certified by the American Board of Orthodontics. 

I took the extra voluntary step of pursuing board certification after my residency. The process involves hundreds of hours of preparation to demonstrate the skill, judgment and knowledge to offer the highest quality of patient care. It also shows an ongoing commitment to education since board certification has to be renewed. 

By choosing a board-certified orthodontist, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re getting quality care from someone with demonstrated expertise. 

2. Do you like the vibe at the office?

Even with high-tech braces and aligners, you’ll have to go to the office for the occasional check-up during your treatment to make sure things are on track. There’s nothing worse than dreading every visit. 

At your initial consultation, spend a little time getting a feel for the practice. Is the staff friendly? Will you regularly see the orthodontist during treatment? Will you be seeing the same orthodontist at every visit? Is the office clean? 

At Smile Experience Orthodontics, we pride ourselves just as much on the experience we provide as we do our results. Our office is bright and modern and we create a fun, relaxing atmosphere. I take the time to get to know you and understand your needs, and I’ll see you throughout your entire treatment. My team is friendly and accommodating, and I’m confident you’ll actually like coming in for visits. 

3. Does the practice use modern technology and treatments?

Orthodontic treatment is way more efficient, comfortable and convenient than it used to be. In the past, severe orthodontic concerns in adults were treated with corrective jaw surgery. Thanks to advances in technology and techniques, we can treat more cases than ever before without surgery. As for mild or moderate cases, I can help you get outstanding results more quickly. 

Yet, to do this, we need the latest diagnostic equipment, treatment planning software and treatments. At my practice, I’ve invested in cutting-edge technology and tools, ranging from intraoral scanners for digital impressions (no messy, goopy molds) to state-of-the-art treatment planning software that lets me move each individual tooth in your mouth into its ideal place. This makes adult Invisalign and braces treatment faster and more effective and improves your overall experience. 

An Adult's Guide to Choosing an Orthodontist

4. Will you be able to choose an orthodontic treatment you feel comfortable with?

While metal braces are smaller than ever, I know not every grown-up is thrilled with the thought of having visible brackets and wires. If you’re interested in getting braces as an adult, clear braces are a more under-the-radar option. 

Though they’re not completely invisible braces, the ceramic brackets blend in with your teeth, making them a lot less noticeable than their metal counterparts. Our clear ceramic braces are popular with patients who have public-facing jobs or who feel self-concious about drawing attention to their smile.

Yet, the hands-down most popular orthodontic treatment for adults is Invisalign. The system of removable, clear aligners is discreet, comfortable and doesn’t involve brackets and wires at all. Most people won’t be able to tell you’re wearing the aligners. Since the aligners are removable, there are no food restrictions and oral hygiene is simple. 

As the #1 Invisalign provider in Oak Ridge and Wayne, I’ve treated thousands of patients, including adults of all ages, with the clear aligners. Because of my proficiency and experience with the treatment, almost everyone is a candidate for Invisalign at Smile Experience Orthodontics, including people with more complex cases. 

5. Is the orthodontist experienced in adult orthodontics?

As I mentioned previously, treating a mature adult whose facial and jaw growth are complete is much different than treating a child or teenager. Choosing an orthodontist familiar with treating adults is important.

At Smile Experience Orthodontics, my team and I are well versed in adult orthodontics. Using a combination of advanced diagnostic tools, computerized treatment planning and high-tech treatments, I’m able to help adults get outstanding results more efficiently. 

I also understand how to accommodate things like dental bridges, which move as one unit, dental implants, which don’t move at all, and dental crowns. This ensures your smile will look natural and your bite will be healthy and comfortable even with restorations. 

If you’re currently experiencing issues like gum disease or tooth decay, I can coordinate with your general dentist or any specialists to get you to the point where treatment will be successful and make sure your mouth is in top-notch shape throughout treatment. 

Another consideration in adult orthodontics is any past treatment you had. You’ll want to be sure the orthodontist offers limited treatment for things like a minor relapse after having braces in the past. Or, if you never had treatment and have a more complex case, it’s beneficial if the doctor has treated adults with similar concerns with comprehensive treatment before. 

6. Will the practice be able to work with your schedule?

As an Oak Ridge and Wayne, NJ orthodontist, husband and dad, I know firsthand how busy adults are. If you go to a practice and they have long wait times, old technology and hours that will require you to constantly miss work for appointments, it can be tough to juggle orthodontic treatment and all of your day-to-day responsibilities. 

That’s why my team and I take a technology-led approach in our office processes as well. Visits are streamlined and you’ll be seen on time. I offer evening and weekend hours too, so you can schedule some of your visits outside of work hours. 

7. Do you feel confident in the orthodontist’s proposed treatment plan?

It’s important that you fully understand your diagnosis and treatment plan and have all of your questions answered. You want to feel 100% confident about moving forward. 

While how long braces and Invisalign take will vary depending on the complexity of your case, if you’re told treatment will last years or, on the other hand, you’re promised great results for a complex case in six months, get a second opinion. Any time an orthodontist, or any doctor, recommends an especially extensive treatment, such as extractions or corrective jaw surgery, you should also get a second opinion to weigh your options before committing.

8. How much will adult braces or Invisalign cost?

Like the length of treatment, the cost of braces or Invisalign varies depending on the complexity of your case. Ideally, you should receive a breakdown of the fees upfront at your consultation. If you have insurance, does the practice take it? Do they let you finance treatment and pay for it in low monthly payments?

My team and I believe in delivering personalized, high quality care for a fair price. We work with most major insurance plans and will verify your benefits and file claims on your behalf. We also have flexible financing options, including in-house, no-interest financing plans that essentially allow you to pick the monthly payment you’re comfortable with. 

While, yes, orthodontic treatment is an investment in your oral health and confidence, it shouldn’t be burdensome to pay for. By making treatment work for your budget, you can focus on getting your new smile instead of worrying about the cost. 

Your Oak Ridge & Wayne, NJ Orthodontist for AdultsChoosing an orthodontist is a big decision and you deserve to get the highest quality care in a way that’s comfortable and enjoyable. If you’re interested in adult orthodontics in Wayne or Oak Ridge, NJ, my team and I have you covered! Schedule a complimentary consultation at Smile Experience Orthodontics today.