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When we talk about orthodontic treatment, we usually visualize kids and teenagers going to an orthodontist near me to get their teeth straightened with the help of braces. But, you will be surprised to know that according to a study conducted by the American Association of Orthodontics, today one in every four orthodontic patients is an adult. (1) This means it is never too late to get a good smile and a healthy bite. While 75% of orthodontic patients are kids and teenagers, the American adults are not hesitating to consult the orthodontists near me for improving their smile, their bite, and their overall oral health. You will also be surprised to know that even if your teeth are no longer growing at your age, you can still go for orthodontic treatment and achieve surprising results. (2)

Many of us, however, would still hesitate to go for orthodontics near me. Some of us may find it an additional expenditure as many of the orthodontic procedures are not covered by insurance. A few of us are happy with our smile and do not feel like making an improvement. If you are one of the millions of Americans who has crooked, misaligned teeth and yet, you hardly bother about them, you must consult a dentist and orthodontist near me and get your teeth evaluated for future problems. A study conducted by the School of Dental Medicine, University of Connecticut concluded that underserved patients are at the highest risk of overall oral health complications. (3) Getting appropriate orthodontic treatment can minimize the chances of future dental problems such as tooth decay, gum diseases, and chewing-related issues. So, if you or your children are having misaligned teeth, it’s time for you to schedule an appointment with a pediatric orthodontist near me and get your teeth straightened for a better oral health and a better smile. In this blog, we will be providing you with some helpful tips on how to find the best orthodontist near me. But, before we begin, let’s first find out who the orthodontists near me are and what they do:

Who is an orthodontist and what they do


 

The orthodontist near me is a dental specialist who practices orthodontics, a specialized branch of dentistry that focuses on correcting the alignment of teeth to improve their function and aesthetics. Orthodontists are primarily known for straightening the teeth but they are also trained and licensed to treat painful, misaligned bites, misaligned jaws, and even some form of sleep apnea. Other than this, the childrens orthodontist near me can fix teeth that are too crowded or too far apart. The major part of their treatment involves the use of braces and aligners.

To become an orthodontist, you will have to first complete your regular dental training, which takes four years of classes to graduate. Once you have graduated from your dental school, you can opt for an additional two to three years of residency programs in orthodontics. Most dentists do not opt for a residency program and are happy with their dentistry license. During their dental education, all of them receive training on correcting misaligned teeth. So, technically dentist are also licensed to correct misaligned teeth. However, the orthodontists near me receive an additional two-three years of residency training for improving the aesthetic and functionality of teeth. During the residency program, the aspiring dentist orthodontist near me receives 3700 hours of specialized orthodontic training. So, effectively, people who are trained to practice orthodontics near me possess almost double the training than the general dentists, which is why they are a better choice than the general dentist. (4)

Once you have completed your residency program, you can apply for a license to practice in the state where do you live. Other than a valid license, some orthodontists near me also prefer to become board-certified. To get board certification from the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) or to become the diplomats of the American Board of Orthodontics, you will have to clear their written as well as clinical examination. (5) Board certification is a voluntary thing but it indicates that the board-certified orthodontist near me is an expert in his field and possesses the skills and experience required to work on your teeth and jaw.

Childhood is the best time to consult an orthodontist specialist near me. Early interception and treatment with aligners and braces can minimize the problems that may arise due to misaligned teeth. However, as mentioned above, it is never too late to start your treatment. If you are facing biting-related issues or if you want to straighten your crooked teeth, you can seek orthodontist near me free consultation and find out the best possible options.

Here are some common issues that the orthodontist near me treats:

Spaced teeth

A gap between teeth, also known as Diastema, is a common problem. Although it doesn’t look odd during your childhood, the space between teeth could grow as you age, thereby affecting your smile and appearance. The unwanted space could make your teeth become loose and may cause discomfort and pain during swallowing. (6) An affordable orthodontist near me can easily address this issue by putting on braces.

Overbite

Also known as buck teeth, overbite is a condition in which the upper front teeth extend too far over the lower teeth, thereby causing the top teeth to go beyond the lower set of teeth. This could cause a gummy smile, protruding lips, and excessive cuts in the mouth, other than chewing problems. Thankfully, the best orthodontist near me will be able to help you out by correcting the alignment of the teeth.

Underbite

It is just the opposite of overbite. In this case, the lower jaw extends too far out causing the lower front teeth to sit in front of the upper front teeth. If not treated on time, underbite can cause joint dysfunction and cause severe damage to your teeth due to uneven chewing. Just like overbite, this is an alignment issue and can be treated by an orthodontist surgeon near me.

Openbite

In this condition, the upper and lower teeth do not overlap, thereby, affecting the chewing process. Openbite is usually caused due to thumb-sucking and tongue trusting during childhood. If ignored, it can cause speech impairment and other issues related to dental health. Openbite is best identified when some of the teeth are unable to make contact with each other when the mouth is closed. An early orthodontics near me evaluation and treatment can help correct openbite easily.

Crossbite

Crossbite occurs when the upper and the lower jaw do not fit correctly. In such cases, usually, the upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth due to which, the patients have to move their lower jaw forward or to the side while closing. Crossbite, when ignored, can damage your teeth as well as affect the alignment of the jaw. If you are suffering from crossbite, consult a top-rated orthodontist near me to get it corrected before it starts affecting your facial structure.

Crowding

Crowded teeth are caused due to mismatching of the jaw size and the teeth size. In most cases, teeth get overcrowded when they don’t get sufficient room to erupt from the gums. Overcrowded teeth look unattractive and can cause dental decay and other dental problems. Thankfully, early intervention can help avoid overcrowding. When your child reaches the age of eight, make sure you take him for frequent dental check-up so that the pediatric dentist and orthodontist near me can identify if there are chances of overcrowding and accordingly, they can suggest you the best possible solution to prevent it.

Other than the above-mentioned conditions, you can consult an orthodontist near me for these reasons (7):

  • If you want to improve your smile

  • If you are facing difficulty in chewing or biting

  • If you are frequently breathing from the mouth

  • If you have bad oral habits such as thumb-sucking

  • If your jaw is protruding or making noise during movement

  • If you have protruding teeth

  • If you have facial imbalance or asymmetry

  • If you are unable to comfortably close your lips

  • If you frequently bite your cheek or bite into the roof of your mouth


Now that we know what the orthodontists near me do, let’s find out why it is better to choose them instead of choosing your regular dentist.

Orthodontist versus dentist


 

Most people assume that a dentist is also an orthodontist. This confusion is understandable because both of them work on our teeth and both of them are responsible for good oral health. Even though your dentist has been providing orthodontic services for years, his or her experience doesn’t make him competent enough to correct the abnormalities of your teeth and jawline. According to the American Association of Orthodontist, just putting aligners and braces on teeth doesn’t make a dentist an orthodontist. (8) To provide orthodontic services, the dental professional has to complete 4 years of dental school training and an additional 2-3 years of residency program in orthodontics at an American Dental Association approved university-affiliated program. During this program, the candidates learn how the teeth meet, how they are aligned, how they function, how their position can affect dental health and overall health, and how they can correct the position of the misaligned teeth. For this, they have to complete 3700 hours of specialized training, which is what makes them expert in their field.

Dentists, also known as general dentists, are concerned only with the overall oral health such as treating decayed teeth, remove failed teeth, clean up plague, prevent decay, etc. They are not trained to treat misalignments, perform root canal, and any other surgical and non-surgical procedures. They are just like general practitioners who treat common health issues using generic methods. An orthodontist, however, is like a specialist whom you will consult when the GP is unable to handle your case. He/she will evaluate your dental condition and, accordingly, will come up with that tailored treatment specific to your problem. Typically your dentist will diagnose, treat, and manage your overall health and he will refer you to an orthodontist near me if he finds that you require orthodontic treatment. Most dentists work together with orthodontists to provide a complete range of dental services to their patients.

Now that we have got complete clarity on when we need to consult an orthodontist near me, let’s learn how we can find the one who will be able to address all our orthodontic issues.

How to find the best orthodontist near me


 

Get references

Orthodontic procedures have become very common these days. As mentioned above, the adult Americans are not hesitating to consult the orthodontists near me to get their teeth straightened and their smile enhanced. So, this means, getting references for practitioners practicing orthodontics near me is not going to be a big challenge for you.

  • If any of your family members, friends, or colleagues has ever received orthodontic treatment, find out how their experience was. Ask them if they are happy with the services that the orthodontist near me provided them. Find out if they were attended properly and if all their questions were answered. Ask them if they ever faced a complication and how the orthodontist attended it. If they had a positive experience with a specific orthodontist, it is worth putting his or her name at the top of the list.

  • If your dentist has he referred you for orthodontic treatment, feel free to ask him for references. They are from the same field and, very often, they have networked with each other to provide a holistic range of services to their clients. Even if your dentist has not networked with an orthodontist, he or she will still be able to refer you to the best rated orthodontist near me.

  • You can contact your state’s dental association and get a list of local orthodontists near me. The list you will get from them will consist of licensed professionals, so you will not have to any background checking.

  • The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) (9) and the American Board of Orthodontics (10 ) have free online search tool on their website that you can use to locate board certified orthodontists near me. The orthodontists listed with these two organizations are highly credible and hold all valid licenses.


Verify their credentials

Once you have compiled a list of few orthodontists near me, it’s time to refine your search and select the best one among them. Their education and experience matter a lot, so you need to verify their credentials and ensure that the list you have created consists of only highly qualified, experienced, and licensed orthodontists near me. No matter who referred you to a specific dentist and orthodontist near me, you must personally verify his/her credentials.

All medical professionals display their medical degrees on the walls of their offices. So, you can visit the office of the orthodontist near me to see if there are medical degrees displayed on the walls. Mostly, the practitioner would have displayed his practice license, his medical degree, and his board certification. As mentioned above, all practicing orthodontists must have a dental school degree and must have completed a residency program in orthodontics. After successful completion of the residency program, they must have got a valid work license for the state in which they want to practice.  Board certification is not mandatory but it indicates that the medical practitioner is committed to providing high-quality, up to date services to their patients. Such practitioners are highly committed towards patient safety too. The American Board of Orthodontics, American Dental Association, and American Association of Orthodontists are the three institutes that provide board certification for orthodontists. (11)

Look for convenience and flexibility

Orthodontic treatments require several sessions and, very often, you need to frequently visit their clinic and get your braces or aligners checked. So, it is very important for you to find an orthodontist who is approachable. He or she should be near your home or clinic and should be flexible with appointments so that you can meet him at your convenience. The best way to find out about the practitioner’s flexibility is to read his reviews online. Look for reviews where people have stated about the doctor’s approach, behavior, friendliness, and willingness to work according to the patient’s convenience. Although not all online reviews are genuine, they will still give you an idea of how friendly and dedicated the practitioner is. Other than the approach of the orthodontist near me, you should also look at the behavior of the staff. They should be very cooperative, accommodating, and should be willing to answer all your queries. You would hardly require the help of an emergency orthodontist near me. Yet, you must find out if the practitioner you have selected is ready to attend you during emergencies.

Consider insurance coverage

Orthodontic treatments are usually not covered by Medicare. However, some part of the treatment may be covered by insurance. Once you have finalized an orthodontist near me, contact the staff at the clinic to find out if they accept your insurance. Also, find out how much you have to pay out of your own pocket and what cost will be covered within your insurance. If your treatment is not covered under insurance, then you may get tempted to find an orthodontist near me cheap services. We strongly recommend that you must not compromise quality for the price. Orthodontic treatments require long-term approach but they need to be attended by a qualified and experienced professional. So, make sure you choose a qualified and licensed orthodontist neat me, even though you have to pay a little more.

Schedule an initial consultation

Most orthodontists near me offer free initial consultation. Some offer an initial consultation for a very low fee. So, you must utilize this opportunity and visit one or two orthodontists near me to find out the best possible treatment plan for you. During your initial consultation, feel free to ask any question that you have in mind. Do not hesitate asking about the treatment cost, the doctor’s approach, the treatment duration, post-treatment follow-ups, etc. The best orthodontist near me would be happy to answer all your questions and help you understand your treatment process thoroughly. Some of them may be willing to share you some references of their patients but most of them won’t do that due to beach of privacy.

Other than the orthodontist, make sure you also evaluate the office staff and the dental facilities. Find out if the clinic is well-equipped with up-to-date equipment. Ask the staff about their emergency treatment plan. Emergencies are rare during orthodontic treatments. Still, you must find out how equipped they are to handle any form of emergency that may arise. Also, find out if their hospital or facility is accredited and licensed. Licensed facilities are usually equipped with all necessary equipment for patient safety. Here are some questions that the American Board of Orthodontics suggests you to ask your practitioner. (12)

Set your expectations right

Most people get impatient with orthodontic treatments and start doubting there practitioner’s ability. Some even think of changing their doctor. We suggest that you must be patient and trust your doctor.

  • Your orthodontist will probably call you frequently to monitor your treatment and ensure that it stays on course. Be patient and stick to your appointments. Never miss them as monitoring is very important to ensure a healthy treatment.

  • Orthodontic treatments do take time. Simple cases may require only a few months of treatment, whereas the complicated cases may take up to a few years. Before you start your treatment, you may consult more than one orthodontist to find out if the suggested treatment duration is correct. Once you have started seeking treatment from a specific orthodontist, refrain from changing your practitioner unless you are extremely dissatisfied with his or her services. Even the best orthodontist near me will not be able to minimize the treatment time. So be patient.


Most people assume that orthodontic treatments are cosmetic procedures and, therefore, they refrain from consulting an orthodontist near me. This, however, is not true. The professional practicing orthodontics near me will not only make your smile look better but also help you achieve a good oral health, which will, in turn, improve your overall well-being. So, if you have recently felt that your teeth need some improvement in terms of their structure and alignment, feel free to find the best orthodontist near me using the above-mentioned tips. For more such helpful information, keep reading our blog.

References and Citations

  1. American Association of Orthodontists. https://www.aaoinfo.org/?lang=en.

  2. Why Orthodontics? American Association of Orthodontists. https://www.aaoinfo.org/_/why-you-should-get-orthodontic-treatment/#whenOrtho.

  3. Overcoming barriers to orthodontic treatment in the United States. Dental Hypotheses. http://www.dentalhypotheses.com/article.asp?issn=2155-8213;year=2016;volume=7;issue=2;spage=70;epage=72;aulast=Gutierrez.

  4. What is an Orthodontist? American Association of Orthodontists. https://www.aaoinfo.org/blog/what-is-an-orthodontist-and-dentofacial-orthopedist/.

  5. What is a Board Certified Orthodontist? American Board of Orthodontics. https://www.americanboardortho.com/general-public/what-is-a-board-certified-orthodontist/

  6. Diastema (Gap Between Teeth). Oral Health and Dental Care. https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/cosmetic-dentistry/early-orthodontics/diastema-gap-between-teeth.

  7. Why Orthodontics? American Association of Orthodontists. https://www.aaoinfo.org/_/why-you-should-get-orthodontic-treatment/#whenOrtho.

  8. Is My Dentist Also An Orthodontist? American Association of Orthodontists. https://prodv1-consumer.aaoinfo.org/blog/is-my-dentist-also-an-orthodontist

  9. Find an Orthodontist. American Association of Orthodontists. https://www.aaoinfo.org/locator.

  10. Find a Board Certified Orthodontist. American Board of Orthodontics. https://www.americanboardortho.com/general-public/orthodontist-locator/.

  11. What is a Board Certified Orthodontist? American Board of Orthodontics. https://www.americanboardortho.com/general-public/what-is-a-board-certified-orthodontist/.

  12. What to Ask Before You Choose. American Board of Orthodontics. https://www.americanboardortho.com/general-public/how-to-choose-an-orthodontist/what-to-ask-before-you-choose/.