3 Questions To Ask When Choosing An Orthodontist

Here at Buttram Orthodontics, we believe that our patients should be informed every step of their orthodontic journey! It’s our goal to help you feel empowered from the start of your treatment to the very end. We know that choosing to begin orthodontic treatment is a big commitment, and your smile is much too important to trust anything less than an experienced orthodontist. But what if you’re not quite sure where to start?

To help you get started on your orthodontic journey, we’ve compiled a list of the most important questions to ask in order to make an informed decision on your orthodontic care. Keep reading below for a detailed look at what you need to know before making a final choice on an orthodontic practice!

Is the doctor a trained orthodontic specialist?

While it may seem obvious, this is hands-down the most important question you can ask when exploring your options for braces treatment or clear aligner therapy. This is because some general dentists are able to provide basic orthodontic treatment, even though it’s not their area of focus. 

Your general dentist will typically offer common dental services, such as crowns, fillings, dentures, and occasional orthodontic treatments like Invisalign. An orthodontist, on the other hand, is dedicated to providing only orthodontic services. 

This may seem small, but this distinction matters. Imagine that 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? Orthodontists are, at their core, dentists who have several years of additional specializing training and experience. This means an orthodontist 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 are extremely competitive, accepting only the top students in any dental school graduating class. These orthodontic programs typically last around 2 to 3 years and include full-time training that’s focused on correcting orthodontic issues with braces and aligners. While there are some exceptions, most dentists will not possess the same level of extensive orthodontic training and experience.

Dr. Buttram has been providing exceptional orthodontic care in Panama City for more than 30 years, giving him the experience necessary to adequately assess, diagnose, and treat a patient’s orthodontic needs. Our talented team performs teeth straightening procedures every single day, and the whole team keeps up to date with the latest in industry technology and practice by regularly attending continuing education courses. We have everything you need for a positive, stress-free orthodontic experience!

What treatment options does the orthodontist offer?

At Buttram Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer a wide variety of orthodontic treatments to patients of all ages, including traditional metal braces and clear aligner therapy.

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 Aligners

Invisalign clear aligner therapy consists of a series of invisible, removable, and comfortable acrylic trays that straighten your teeth like braces. Not only are the aligners invisible, they are removable, so you can eat and drink what you want while in treatment, plus brushing and flossing are less of a hassle. Invisalign clear aligners are comfortable and have no metal to cause mouth abrasions during treatment.

How frequent are follow-up visits with the orthodontist?

With any type of orthodontic treatment, you should expect to visit your orthodontist pretty frequently. For most of our patients, adjustment appointments are scheduled every 8 to 12 weeks or so. During these visits, Dr. Buttram will replace any worn-out rubber bands, check the progress of your smile, and make any necessary adjustments to the wire to keep your treatment progressing as planned. 

Patients who choose clear aligner therapy are seen less frequently, but these check-ups are still an essential part of the orthodontic process. 

While every smile is unique and treatment times vary from case to case, the average patient will spend around 15 to 24 months in treatment. You should be prepared to work closely with Dr. Buttram and the team as we work together to achieve your dream smile! We understand life gets busy, and we value your time and effort, so we keep check-ups quick and always aim to see you at your scheduled time. 

Trust your smile to the experts at Buttram Orthodontics

If you’re looking for high-quality orthodontic care from an expert team, Dr. Buttram and the team at Buttram Orthodontics is here for you. Our level of care and expertise is unmatched and we’re committed to giving you the best treatments, cost, and efficiency as we work towards the goal of a straighter, healthier smile. 

If you’re ready to take the first step in your journey to a straighter smile, we would love to meet you and talk more about your goals! Now is the perfect time to get your dream smile, so contact our office to set up your free consultation!