Dr. Rizkallah is the National Consultant to the Orthodontist Directory. As such, he aids dentists and patients in locating a quality orthodontist in their area. If you are struggling to locate a quality orthodontist in your area, contact Dr. Rizkallah’s office to provide you with the name and number of a quality orthodontist near you.
10 TIPS TO FINDING AN ORTHODONTIST
DENTIST VERSUS ORTHODONTIST
Interestingly, there are dentists in the region that do little other than orthodontics. While they present themselves as orthodontists….they are not! They recognize that orthodontists are uniquely trained, and so present themselves as an orthodontist to gain your confidence.
Ask them directly: “Are you an Orthodontist?” Some will answer “I Specialize in Orthodontics.” That is not a yes. Ask again: “Are you an Orthodontist?” Get a “yes!” As the national consultant to the Orthodontist Directory, I have personally had to testify against dentists who dishonestly present themselves in person & in print as “orthodontist.”
Do not be convinced by someone who “seems to care.” I have found that very dishonest people are gifted at appearing particularly caring. Care will show in the results. Results define reputation. Rely on reputation.
Do NOT necessarily go to the orthodontist that IS IN your dentists’ office. While many quality orthodontists associate inside a dentist’s office, many poor quality associates rely on the dentist/owner for referrals. The conflict of interest should be obvious here. You may have a great experience in this scenario….just beware.
PERFORMS AUXILIARY ORTHODONTIC PROCEDURES IN OFFICE
Most orthodontists are NOT willing to perform scheduled minor treatments themselves in the office. They will often refer these simple treatments to other practitioners in other offices, who are not very clear on exactly how an orthodontist would want these procedures done.
Extractions, Exposures, Esthetic Contouring, Bite Equilibration, Frenectomies, Gingivectomies, and other MINOR surgical procedures are best done by an orthodontist for two reasons:
1. Patient Convenience (it is easier to schedule the needed procedure in the same office).
2. Accuracy of Results (Often the reffered to doctor does NOT do the procedure the way the orthodontist would have preferred, and the orthodontist just “works with it.”)
If all you ask for is straight teeth….that may be all you get. And it may not last long!
Esthetic retainers are easy to find. They are clear & cover all your teeth. Unfortunately, most esthetic retainers break within 6 months, because they are made of inferior material.
Durable Esthetic retainers are wonderful. Unfortunately, they are difficult to find. It should be expected to last over 15 years (maybe even a life-time). We use the Forgiver Retainer.
Well fitting are critical to maintaining your results. Look for an orthodontist with an in-office laboratory to fabricate retainers. Most offices send out retainer impressions to a laboratory in their region. It usually takes 1 to 2 weeks to get the retainer back for placement in the mouth. By then, often the teeth have shifted. The retainer usually fits ok, but not well.
Quality orthodontists provide a retainer within 24 hours. The retainers should fit tightly on the front teeth (where crookedness occurs) and passively on back teeth (where the bite needs freedom). Insist on a well-fitting retainer.
Because most human beings are NOT perfectly disciplined about wearing their retainers properly, crookedness can occur after braces. Whereas conventional retainers may not fit after minor crookedness, Forgiving retainers will PUSH YOUR TEETH BACK to where they were when the retainers were first made. They FORGIVE you for being imperfect.
Many types of forgiving retainers exist: Mushroom Spring Retainers are the most common. Dr. Rizkallah designed the “Forgiver ® Retainer” for his patients.
If your orthodontist uses conventional Hawley retainers, be conscientious about wearing your Hawley retainer. They are NOT FORGIVING.
Orthodontists that consistently require over two years of braces to complete treatment should be avoided. Rarely should quality orthodontic care take so long. Orthodontic treatment lasting over 2 years commonly causes cavities, long-term gum defects, root resorption, and white spots.
Proper speed is established with good planning and systematic execution.
Is 6 month braces possible? Absolutely. But that does not mean that everyone can accomplish quality results in 6 months. 6 months MAY perfect the case. It MAY ONLY perfect the smile. It MAY be unrealistic. See a certified orthodontist to know your options (remember to ask if the doctor is an orthodontist).
For quality results quickly, do proper research.
The quality of the digital images are far superior to conventional x-ray systems. It is amazing how little is visible in conventional x-rays, compared to Digital x-rays. Digital x-rays improve treatment.
An in-office laboratory means that you can get your retainer quickly. Whether it is your first retainer, or a replacement for one you lost, your teeth are shifting whenever your retainer is out of your mouth.
I list price last on this list because it is often the least useful deciding factor. Unfortunately, it is often used as the primary basis of consumption decision-making.
While price is VERY important….when you are spending thousands….a few hundred more or less shouldn’t influence your decision too much. YET, do not be deceived when the price is very high….you may be led to believe that you are getting more. You may not be.
Prices should be competitive. The market drives the price. As such, prices should be comparable. If an office has a particularly high price….ask them why. If an office has a particularly low price….ask them why. I would stay away from both offices. At the former, they are probably cheating your wallet. At the latter, they are probably cheating your health.
Invest the time to find a quality orthodontist in your area. You will be rewarded with a result that you can enjoy for the rest of your life.
M Z Rizkallah DDS MSD PC
National Consultant, Orthodontist Directory