How to Choose an Orthodontist

What Does an Orthodontist Do?

You might think only about choosing an orthodontist to work on your teenagers' teeth, but more adults today are having orthodontic procedures. An orthodontist typically uses dental braces to restore alignment in your teeth and mouth. Braces aren't the traditional "metal mouth" any more, and now come in a variety of fun colors. Conditions which may call for treatment by an orthodontist include a crowded mouth, misaligned or crooked teeth, or an underbite/overbite/crossbite. Restoring a proper bite and tooth alignment can help you by aiding in proper chewing, improving your speech patterns, and reducing the possibility of chipping your teeth. The orthodontist will use braces, retainers and dental appliances to gradually apply pressure and bring your teeth back into alignment. Choose your orthodontist wisely because you'll spend a lot of time together. There are regular visits in the first few months for adjustments during the treatment phase and you may also be required to wear a retainer after treatment to help maintain the new alignment of your teeth. An orthodontist will:

  • Examine, diagnose and treat misalignment of your teeth and any jawbone abnormalities.

  • Develop a treatment plan to restore dental alignment in your mouth.

  • Design and fabricate dental appliances to help bring your teeth back into alignment and restore normal functioning.

How to Choose an Orthodontist

  • Ask your friends and family dentist for referrals to a qualified orthodontist.

  • Use the information at to help narrow down your choices.

  • Find out if the orthodontist is using the latest technology and procedures to minimize pain and maximize results.

  • Check out their dental qualifications. The basic dental degree is a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD).

  • The dental professional should also have completed an additional two or more years of advanced education in orthodontics. Ask about any continuing education courses.

  • Ask about privacy standards.

  • Ask for patient referrals.

  • Find out if they have any additional patient education information such as a newsletter or website page to help you protect those realigned teeth.

  • Ask about pricing, payment plans and determine what may be covered by your insurance plan. Are there more cost-effective options to the proposed procedure? Can complex procedures be broken down into steps and spread out over a period of time? is your go-to source for dental information and dental education. Use our dental profiles to help find an orthodontist for your family because is "where patients and dentists connect."