10 Questions you need to ask before choosing an orthodontist
1. Are you an orthodontist or a dentist?
There is a difference so this is an important question to ask first up. An orthodontist is significantly more experienced in the field of orthodontics than a dentist is so you need to find out who’s treating you. Specialist postgraduate training equips an orthodontist to correct a patient’s teeth and jaws to ensure they’re in alignment with their overall facial profile. General dentist will usually have undergone less formal training and may have less experience than a dedicated specialist.
2. Are you registered with the General Dental Council as a specialist?
All specialist orthodontists will be registered with the General Dental Council (GDC) and have a GDC number. This should be available on the clinic’s website but if not, ask your orthodontist for it.
3. What qualifications do they have?
An orthodontist gains their qualification after three years of postgraduate study in the field of orthodontics. This is done on top of a five-year Bachelor of Dentistry. Dentists have this undergraduate degree in dentistry but not the subsequent orthodontic training.
4. What professional memberships do you have?
Specialist orthodontists are committed to ongoing training and keeping up to date with the latest in orthodontic practices and techniques. One of the ways they do this is by becoming a member of various professional bodies, such as the British Orthodontic Society.
5. How many years of experience do you have?
In addition to finding out how many years of experience your orthodontist has, also ask him/her what areas they have a particular interest in. This is especially important if you’re interested in having Invisalign treatment.
6. Who will be assisting you with my treatment?
An orthodontist works with a team of professionals around him/her, which include orthodontic therapists, dental nurses and treatment coordinators. Ask how the team works at the practice and who is likely to be involved with your treatment.
7. What qualifications does the team have?
Everybody who works within the orthodontic industry is required to have a professional qualification and be registered with the General Dental Council (GDC). Find out what qualifications the supporting team has and look for their GDC numbers too.
8. Can I see some examples of your work?
Most orthodontic websites have a section with case studies, showing before and after photos of patients they have treated. This allows you to see the standard of work they can achieve. Also ask to read some testimonials from previous patients to see how they found their treatment experience.
9. What follow up care do you provide?
Professional specialist orthodontists really care about their work and the well being of their patients. Ask your orthodontist about follow-up care post-treatment; as this is a good indicator of the level of care and service you’ll receive.
10. Which dentists do you work with?
Although you don’t need a referral for orthodontic treatment, your dentist can refer you for an orthodontic opinion. Ask your dentist which orthodontist they work with and would recommend, as it is important your dentist is kept informed of any orthodontic treatment you have.