3 Questions To Ask When Choosing An Orthodontist

Here at Westfall Orthodontics, we know that making the choice to improve your oral health with orthodontic treatment is a big decision. There are a lot of factors to consider before taking the plunge, and it can be a little overwhelming if you’re not sure where to start! It’s important to us that all orthodontic patients feel empowered and educated about their choices, and we believe that your smile is too important to trust to anything less than an experienced orthodontist.

To get you started on your journey to a healthier smile, we’ve put together this list of important questions to ask in order to make an informed decision about your orthodontic care! To learn more about what you should know before committing to an orthodontic practice for treatment, keep reading below.

Is the doctor a trained orthodontic specialist?

This may seem like a really obvious question, but it’s actually the most important thing to ask when exploring treatment with braces or clear aligners. This is because some general dentists are also able to provide orthodontic treatment, even though they don’t tend to specialize in it.

Typically, you’ll see general dentists offering common dental services such as crowns, fillings, and dentures. Occasionally, they may offer orthodontic treatment. It’s become increasingly popular for some dentists to offer Invisalign, for example. An orthodontist, on the other hand, spends their days providing only orthodontic services to patients of all ages.

This is a distinction that matters! If you or your child required specialized treatment or surgery, would you feel comfortable with your family physician handling your case, or would you prefer a dedicated specialist? We feel that your smile deserves the same consideration. An orthodontist is essentially a dentist who has also had several years of additional specialized training and experience. This means an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Westfall has:

  • 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

Orthodontic residency programs tend to be extremely competitive, accepting only the top students in any dental school graduating class. These orthodontic programs usually last two or three years, and include full-time training that focuses on correcting orthodontic issues with braces and aligners. While there are exceptions to every rule, most dentists won’t possess this same level of exhaustive orthodontic training and experience.

Dr. Westfall has the expertise needed to provide patients in Bristol, Abingdon, Richlands, and the surrounding communities with smiles that are healthy, attractive, and functional. He’s also a board-certified orthodontist, which means Dr. Westfall passed a thorough written exam and presented patient cases to independent examiners for evaluation. Less than 30% of all orthodontists become board certified, so you can be confident your smile is in the best possible hands when you choose Westfall Orthodontics!

Our team’s only focus here is orthodontic care and treatment. We perform teeth straightening procedures daily, and we all keep up to date on the latest in industry practice by regularly attending continuing education courses. You can trust our talented team to deliver a stress-free orthodontic experience and superior results.

3 Questions To Ask When Choosing An Orthodontist

What treatment options does the orthodontist offer?

There’s never been a better time to be an orthodontic patient! Modern technology allows us to offer a wide range of affordable treatment options, from traditional braces to clear aligners. At Westfall Orthodontics, we have the following treatments available to patients of all ages.

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 have the option of adding colored elastics (rubber bands) for a more unique and colorful smile.

Clear Braces

Sometimes called ceramic braces, this option works like metal braces but is made of clear materials and therefore a more subtle option. For this reason, ceramic braces are used mainly on older teenagers and adult patients who have cosmetic concerns. 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, ceramic braces tend to be used more on upper front teeth than on lower teeth.

Invisalign clear aligner therapy

Instead of brackets, bands, and wires, Invisalign’s 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 what 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 decide on, you can expect relatively frequent visits to your orthodontist. This is an essential part of treatment, so you should try your best not to miss any of these follow-up appointments! At Westfall Orthodontics, we generally schedule them for every 4-8 weeks in the office location that’s most convenient for you. During these visits, Dr. Westfall will check the movements your teeth are making, make any necessary adjustments, and replace any worn-out rubber bands if you’re wearing braces.

Because each smile is unique, and every patient responds to treatment in their own way, treatment times will always vary from case to case. However, the average patient will spend anywhere from 12-24 months years in treatment. You’ll see your orthodontist regularly during this time, so it’s important to choose a practice you’re comfortable with!

Put your smile in the best hands with Westfall Orthodontics

When you’re looking for an optimal orthodontic experience, you simply can’t beat Westfall Orthodontics! Our talented team is unmatched in skill, expertise, and the level of high-quality care every patient receives. Since Dr. Westfall’s sole specialty is orthodontics, you’re guaranteed to receive nothing but the best in treatments, cost, and efficiency. You can expect outstanding service, a beautiful smile, and personalized treatment from your first appointment to your last!

If you’re ready to take the first step in your orthodontic journey, we’d love the chance to meet you and talk more about how our treatment options can transform your smile. Get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Westfall.