What You Should Ask Before Choosing An Orthodontist

Thanks to advancements in orthodontic technology over the years, it’s easier than ever to align your bite and achieve a beautifully straight smile. There are numerous treatment options available, from traditional braces to clear aligners. To ensure the best results, it’s important to choose a qualified provider you feel comfortable with. An orthodontist will have the training and skills to create the smile you’ve always wanted, but with so many out there, you may not be sure where to begin! Let’s take a closer look at what you should ask before deciding on an orthodontist. 

Back to basics: what is an orthodontist?

At Feil Orthodontics, we believe you should always start with the basics! So what exactly is an orthodontist, anyway? In the simplest terms, an orthodontist is a dentist who has had extra years of education and training that focus on identifying, preventing, and correcting misaligned teeth and jaws. 

While both dentists and orthodontists follow the same path for a while, these diverge after dental school. From there, an orthodontist must complete a minimum of two years of study in an orthodontic residency program that’s been accredited by the American Dental Association

These programs tend to be highly competitive. In fact, they usually accept only the top students in any dental school’s graduating class! Aspiring orthodontists participate in intensive full-time training on identifying and correcting orthodontic issues safely and effectively. By the time the residency is complete, they will have:

  • studied how the teeth and jaw grow
  • been introduced to a variety of case studies
  • developed diagnostic skills
  • learned specific biomechanical techniques to move the teeth properly
  • studied how to change the development of the dental alveolar complex and positively affect the facial  growth of younger patients

As you can see, there’s a lot of hard work and dedication that goes into becoming an orthodontist like Dr. Feil! Speaking of…

What education and training does the orthodontist have?

Dr. Feil completed his undergraduate studies at the University of North Dakota, received his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree at Creighton University in Nebraska, and earned his Master of Science (MS) and Orthodontic Certificate from the University of Colorado. He has served as president of the longest running dental education meeting in Colorado. He is currently a member of the American Association of Orthodontists and an active member of Spear Education, an innovative dental continuing education initiative. That’s a pretty significant amount of extra experience and additional training! It’s no wonder less than 10% of dentists also choose to become orthodontists.

What treatment options does the orthodontist offer?

We’re proud to offer patients of all ages a range of affordable treatment options! They include the following. 

Traditional metal braces

Traditional metal braces have been used in one form or another for hundreds of years, and today’s version is better than ever! The high-grade stainless steel brackets are smaller than they used to be, and more comfortable, too. These are bonded to the front of each tooth then connected by a wire. We’ll adjust the wire throughout the treatment process, which slowly repositions the teeth into the proper alignment. Patients can also add a pop of personality by choosing colorful elastics or go for a more subtle option with clear bands.

Clear ceramic braces

Ceramic braces work just like metal braces but have the added benefit of clear ceramic brackets. These match the color of the natural teeth much more closely, giving patients a discreet way to straighten their teeth! Although these braces are durable, the ceramic material can make the brackets a bit more susceptible to damage. For this reason, we tend to recommend these clear braces for our older teen and adult patients.  

Clear aligners

Clear aligners an exciting alternative to braces that use a series of customized trays to straighten the teeth instead of brackets and wires. They’re designed to be removable, which offers patients a bit more freedom and flexibility than braces do. The trays are made of a soft thermoplastic resin and custom-designed to fit snugly but comfortably over the teeth. 

Patient compliance is important with any clear aligner system. The aligners need to be worn for 20-22 hours per day throughout the treatment process to work. They must also be switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks to keep up with the movements the teeth are making. 

Not all types of braces are appropriate for every case, which is why Dr. Feil creates personalized treatment plans for every patient based on their unique needs and goals. 

How often are follow-up visits with the orthodontist?

Whatever treatment option you decide on, you should expect regular follow-up visits throughout the process. These are usually scheduled for every 8-12 weeks or so, depending on your custom treatment plan. Since you’ll be seeing the orthodontist regularly over this period of time, it’s extra important to choose a practice that you feel comfortable with!

During these visits, Dr. Feil will check how your teeth are moving and ensure the treatment plan is proceeding as it should be. If you’re wearing braces, he’ll also make adjustments as needed and replace any worn-out bands. He may choose to change the wire at this time as well. These appointments are an essential part of your orthodontic journey, so you should always do your best to keep them! Failure to do so can lengthen the total treatment time.

Is Feil Orthodontics the right fit for your smile?

Choosing an orthodontist is a big decision, and we know it’s not one you take lightly! We work hard to earn your trust with our world-class care, customized treatment plans, and exceptional results. With convenient locations in Bismarck, Mandan, Beulah, and Dickinson, it’s never been easier to get the smile you’ve always wanted! Get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation with our expert team.