Deciding to undergo orthodontic treatment is an exciting and significant step towards the smile you’ve always wanted. All you have to do is choose an orthodontist from whom you would like to receive treatment, but where do you begin? There are so many providers to choose from, and it’s important to find one who will listen to your concerns, answer all your questions, offer personalized care, and make you feel comfortable. If you’re not sure where to start in your search for an orthodontist, Westfall Orthodontics is here to help! Let’s explore some of the questions you should be asking when considering who to trust with your unique smile, as well as reasons why an orthodontist’s treatment history matters.
Ask to see before-and-after photos
Viewing before-and-after photos will give you vital information about an orthodontist’s experience and skill level, and it’s important that you begin your orthodontic procedure with the trust and confidence that your chosen office can deliver the results you want. We have a large gallery of before-and-after photos on our website so potential patients can see a comprehensive view of Dr. Westfall’s work and evaluate the results for themselves. When you sit down with us for a consultation, we’ll also be able to show you additional photos that may be relevant to your specific needs and goals. When you’re reviewing before-and-after photos, there are a few key questions to consider, including the following.
Are there enough photos to properly evaluate the work? A couple of blurry examples won’t be enough to form an educated opinion about an orthodontist’s abilities. Make sure you’re seeing enough before-and-after images that you feel confident in the orthodontist’s care! We offer a variety of results on our website and are happy to show you additional results in our office.
Are you looking at the orthodontist’s actual patients? In a practice with more than one doctor, it’s especially important to be certain whose work you’re viewing. Dr. Westfall is the only orthodontist at Westfall Orthodontics, so you can be certain that all the results you see are his own.
Do the final images match the vision you have for your own smile? When you schedule a consultation with us, Dr. Westfall will have a conversation with you about your diagnosis, your expectations, and what you can anticipate from the treatment process so you’ll have a realistic and informed view of the outcome.
Ask as many questions as you need to
You should always look for an orthodontist who will answer every question you may have in order to help you feel confident about your treatment plan. The American Board of Orthodontics has provided patients with a helpful list of commonly asked orthodontic questions to get the ball rolling!
- Does this orthodontist offer orthodontic treatment only, or do they also offer general dentistry services?
- What is the scope of the proposed treatment plan?
- Are there any possible consequences if you choose to not move forward with treatment right now?
- Does the orthodontist personally do all the work on patients or will some of the work be completed by associates? If so, what is their level of expertise?
- What are the office hours?
- How are treatment costs determined?
What billing or payment options will be made available to you?
- What insurance plans does the practice accept?
- Will there be any follow-up once treatment is complete?
Remember that the choice of provider is up to you. Don’t settle for a practice you aren’t comfortable with! If the answers you receive from one orthodontics are not satisfactory, consider continuing your search elsewhere.
Ask about their experience
Any orthodontist you choose should have experience successfully treating patients of all ages for a wide range of orthodontic issues. For example, Dr. Westfall has many years of training, education, and experience behind him, and the results to back it up. He’s known for creating beautiful smiles for families in Bristol, Abingdon, Richlands, and the surrounding communities!
Dr. Westfall is also a board-certified orthodontist, which means he 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 our Dr. Westfall and our expert team for your orthodontic needs.
Ask what orthodontic issues they can address
There are a surprising number of orthodontic issues that can develop in a patient’s mouth, and you want to ensure that your orthodontist is able to effectively address your specific case with the most effective treatment possible. Dr. Westfall treats all orthodontic conditions, but below are some of the most common issues which we will screen for at your initial consultation.
You probably already know that healthy teeth and gums are essential to your general oral health. Unfortunately, crowded teeth can make brushing and flossing effectively difficult, thereby increasing the chances of tooth decay and cavities. If your child has crowded teeth, orthodontic treatment can move them into more optimal positions over time, resulting in a more evenly spaced smile that’s easier to clean! Treatment can also lessen facial tension and relieve chewing or speech difficulties.
Gaps between teeth are very common and can develop for a variety of reasons: genetic predisposition, thumb or finger sucking, extended bottle or pacifier use, even gum disease. If your child has a bit too much space between their teeth, our doctors will be able to identify the underlying cause and create a personalized treatment plan to close the gaps and improve the overall appearance of your child’s smile.
Sometimes these gaps exist because of congenitally missing teeth that never grew in. In other cases, these gaps may be created when permanent teeth are lost due to injury or disease. If this is something your child has experienced, we can use braces to move existing teeth into their proper positions, then place bonded bridges where the missing teeth would have been. This approach allows us to create an evenly-spaced smile for your child that looks great and feels great, too!
With an open bite, the upper and lower rows of the front teeth don’t touch or close properly when the mouth is closed. Many open bites come from extended thumb sucking in childhood, which can cause the teeth to grow into a noticeably rounded formation.
Whatever the cause, an open bite can generally be treated with a combination of braces and an orthodontic appliance known as a “crib.” This device prevents the tongue from putting pressure against the anterior teeth when swallowing, thus allowing the teeth to be adjusted while also training a correct swallowing pattern.
Once treatment is complete, your child will enjoy an aligned bite that allows them to close their teeth and enjoy all their favorite foods with ease.
When a child has a deep overbite, the lower teeth recede so far behind the upper teeth that they bite into the roof of the mouth. The upper front teeth also overlap the lower front teeth. Out of all the bite disorders, a deep overbite is the most detrimental to the teeth and health of the jaw joints. It can also have an impact on face shape and appearance.
Treatment for a deep overbite may be achievable with orthodontics alone, or, depending on the severity of the case, a combination of orthodontics and restorative dentistry. Correcting deep bite misalignments will not only improve the functionality of your child’s teeth but will also dramatically improve the appearance of their smile.
An underbite occurs when the bottom teeth protrude in front of the upper teeth. This type of bite misalignment can cause pain at the jaw joint and the angled pressure can wear down some of the teeth. Children with underbites have quite a few treatment options available to them, including:
- an upper jaw expander, which can be widened nightly until treatment is complete
- a reverse-pull face mask, which wraps around the head and attaches to metal bands on the back upper teeth to pull the upper jaw forward
- traditional braces to adjust the misaligned teeth
Orthodontic treatment like this will often relieve any pain and discomfort associated with the underbite. It can also make smiling, eating, and even breathing easier for your child!
If a child has an overjet, their top front teeth will protrude far beyond the bottom front teeth. This particular malocclusion is often referred to as “buck teeth” and is most effectively treated when diagnosed early. This gives us the chance to guide a child’s tooth eruption and use their growth to our advantage. The child’s age and specific needs will determine what treatment approach we take, but options will usually include:
- bite correction devices
- traditional braces
- removable orthodontic appliances
- tooth removal
Once we treat your child’s overjet, they’ll be left with a beautifully balanced, functional smile.
Could Westfall Orthodontics be the right fit for your smile?
One of the best ways to find the right orthodontist for you is to schedule a consultation. Many orthodontists will offer complimentary consultations, including Dr. Westfall. This initial visit will generally consist of an oral exam and a discussion about the treatment options available to you.
Your first appointment will give you a chance to ask any questions you might have and familiarize yourself with the office, too. You’ll also be able to see how the team interacts with patients and each other. This should leave you with a good idea of whether you want to proceed with treatment or not!
Choosing the right orthodontist for you is a personal decision. You should be prepared to take the time necessary to find one who is a good fit for you, your smile, and your lifestyle! If you’d like to learn more about how Dr. Westfall and our expert team can give you a confident smile you’ll love, get in touch with us today to schedule your FREE consultation.