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How Should I Choose an Orthodontist? | Dr. Wes Answers

July 22nd, 2021

What are the most important factors in choosing an orthodontist? Should you focus on customized treatments, experience, insurance... or something else? Dr. Wes Chladny of Spring Hill’s Dr. Wes Orthodontics shares his answers. Here’s what he has to say.

How to Choose an Orthodontist

Q: “There are few orthodontists to choose from where I live. How do I decide which one to go to?”

Dr. Wes says:

That’s a great question, and I bet a lot of people are glad you asked it. First, I do not believe that orthodontic treatment is a commodity, so the practice you select does matter and can affect the service and outcome you get. When it comes to choosing an orthodontist, here are a few important things to consider...

Does the orthodontist deliver customized treatment for every patient? 

The answer to this should always be, “yes,” but you might have to dig a little deeper to find out what that really means. For instance, digital technologies have emerged that allow orthodontists to simulate the finished result. In my practice I use these digital simulations to create clear plastic aligners (Invisalign®) or design robotically bent wires for my braces patients. The results are truly individualized.

Regardless of the method used to customize treatments, the orthodontist should be able to specifically explain the process used to personalize treatment and how much involvement he/she has in caring for each patient. I would argue that an orthodontist’s time is the key component in customizing treatment for patients. I am confident that the more time an orthodontist spends caring for each patient, the more customized it is. This can create a challenge for larger practices that have more patients because the orthodontist often has less time available to care for each patient and must delegate responsibilities to assistants and support staff.

I’ve practiced in a large, busy office where I treated a lot of patients every day, and I currently have a smaller practice dedicated to treating fewer patients and spending more time with each. From my experience I can tell you that treating fewer patients every day gives me the time to know more about my patients and tailor the treatment to each individual’s needs. The better you understand the involvement the orthodontist will have in the treatment, the more confident you can be that you’ve found the right practice for you.

Does the orthodontist have experience treating your (or your child’s) specific problem?

I wouldn’t recommend selecting an orthodontist on experience alone, but it should be a consideration. The more times an orthodontist has treated a problem, the more predictable and efficient the treatment should become. Typically people don’t want to be Guinea pigs when it comes to their healthcare, so it is perfectly reasonable to know the level of experience your orthodontist has in correcting your problem and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask. At minimum you will get a sense of how confident the orthodontist seems in developing and implementing the treatment plan designed for you. The discussion of the problem and the treatment should be clear and make sense to you. Trust your instincts; if you aren’t satisfied with the explanation you’re given or the time dedicated to your questions or concerns – get another opinion.

Does the orthodontist accept your orthodontic insurance?

This can be a tricky one. I would never recommend that you make a treatment decision entirely based on your insurance benefit, but I recognize that the financial component to treatment can be a major factor. You should be able to find out the details of your insurance benefit by calling your carrier. You’ll want to know how much they’ll pay (lifetime maximum), when they’ll issue payments, if there is a deductible, and if there are any restrictions, just to name a few. Many orthodontic practices will assist you in getting the answers you need if you provide them with the necessary information about your plan.

Here’s where it can get complicated. Some insurance plans have negotiated fees and/or pay a different benefit for in-network providers. If this applies to your plan you may want to find out if any providers in your area participate in the network. You might find that your choices are limited depending on where you live. However, many orthodontic insurance plans provide the same or a similar benefit for services at out-of-network providers as well. Often, people have more freedom of choice than they might initially think, so it is important to learn the details of your plan. I would encourage you to schedule a complimentary consultation with the orthodontist(s) of your choice regardless of your insurance plan. You will get valuable information that will help you make an informed decision regarding which orthodontic practice is the best fit for you.

Schedule a Free Consultation Today

Dr. Wes is currently offering a special promotion for new patients. Call (615) 282-5038 for more information. As always, initial consultations are free. For more info visit https://www.drwesortho.com/.

Why Choose An Orthodontist?

June 9th, 2021

Do you really need to see an orthodontist for braces? Why choose an orthodontist over your family dentist? Dr. Wes Chladny of Spring Hill’s Dr. Wes Orthodontics answers this commonly asked question. Here’s what he has to say…

Q: “My dentist does braces and Invisalign®, why would I need an orthodontist?”

Dr. Wes says:

Good question. Thanks for asking. To begin, braces and Invisalign are products used by orthodontists, as well as some dentists, to straighten teeth and correct bites. The products themselves are similar regardless of the office, so it might seem logical that it doesn’t really matter where you go to get them. However––and I cannot emphasize this enough––the majority of the fees you pay for treatment are not for the braces or Invisalign products themselves. Instead, you are largely paying for the professional service of orthodontic treatment. Orthodontics is much more than straightening teeth and proper treatment can be quite complicated and challenging. Therefore, it is the provider of that professional service that is the most important consideration and differentiator.

Orthodontists are specialists in the growth and development of the face and jaws, alignment of teeth, and the correction of bite problems. They receive an additional 2-3 years of training beyond dental school to develop expertise in the dental specialty of orthodontics. Additionally, orthodontists have more experience in straightening teeth and correcting bites than any other dental professional because orthodontics is the only service they offer.

Some dentists offer orthodontic services but they do not have the advanced education and training in orthodontics that an orthodontist has. Dentists also offer numerous other general dental services in addition to orthodontics, which limits the experience they can achieve treating orthodontic problems. This does not mean that some dentists are not capable of correcting certain orthodontic problems. That being said, I would strongly recommend that patients or parents at least schedule a consultation with an orthodontist before beginning any orthodontic treatment. 

Consultations with orthodontists are typically complimentary, so patients are able to get an expert opinion without incurring any expense or making any commitment. This is a valuable service that I would encourage people to take advantage of before making decisions about treatment, and you do not need to have a referral to schedule a consultation with most orthodontists. 

Schedule a Free Consultation Today

Dr. Wes is currently offering a special promotion for new patients. Call (615) 282-5038 for more information. As always, initial consultations are free. For more info visit https://www.drwesortho.com/.

When Should My Child Get Braces?

May 6th, 2021

Dr. Wes Chladny of Spring Hill’s Dr. Wes Orthodontics answers parents’ questions and concerns regarding their child’s orthodontic care.

Q: “My daughter is only 8 but she has several classmates already in braces. Should she be starting treatment right now?”

Dr. Wes Says:

Thanks for the question. This is a great follow-up to a previous discussion about the timing of a child’s first orthodontic evaluation. We do not believe widespread orthodontic treatment of 7, 8, 9, or even 10-year-old children is supported by the best available research or our experience treating thousands of patients. However, some children do benefit from treatment of very specific problems around this age. In these instances, the problem, treatment plan, and treatment goals should be well explained and understood. The reason for not delaying treatment until the child has lost all or most of his/her baby teeth should also be clear. If these criteria are not met, seek another opinion. You may very well save yourself a lot of money and your child the unenviable experience of having braces twice.

When Should a Younger Child Get Braces?

Some indications for orthodontic treatment in 7 to 10-year-old children are: 

  • Crossbites of back teeth or front teeth
  • Thumb or finger sucking habits
  • Extreme protrusion of top front teeth (buck teeth) that makes them prone to injury
  • Significant crowding that is preventing permanent teeth from coming in
  • Self-esteem/teasing issues

This is not an exhaustive list, but it covers most of the indications for early orthodontic treatment. Most children only need one round of orthodontic treatment and are ready for braces when they have lost all of their baby (primary) teeth and most or all of their permanent teeth have come in.  Every child is different, but this can usually be expected between 11.5-13 years old. Give our office a call at (615) 282-5038 if you have any other questions about this topic!

Dr. Wes Orthodontics provides exceptional orthodontic care for patients of all ages in a small, boutique setting. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call (615) 282-5038 or book online.

When Should My Child See An Orthodontist?

April 29th, 2021

Dr. Wes Chladny of Spring Hill’s Dr. Wes Orthodontics answers parents’ questions and concerns regarding their child’s orthodontic care.

Q: “When should my child see an orthodontist for the first time?”

Dr. Wes says:

Great question! We like to see children receive an orthodontic evaluation at age seven or eight. This is consistent with the recommendation of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). By age seven or eight, some of the permanent front teeth have erupted and an orthodontist can evaluate dental and facial development and give parents feedback.

Let me emphasize, most children do not require treatment at this age and you should not expect that the first evaluation appointment will end with your child in braces. For most children in our practice, growth and development continues to be monitored with complimentary observation visits once or twice a year. However, some children do benefit from treatment of very specific problems at or around this age. If a problem is detected, this early evaluation will allow the orthodontist to recommend the most appropriate treatment at the most ideal time for your growing child.

Most orthodontists offer complimentary orthodontic evaluations, so the only investment you have to make for this service is about a half-an-hour to an hour of time. It’s a great deal for some peace of mind. We always offer complimentary evaluations in our practice and you do not need a referral from your dentist to schedule one. Hope that helps!

Additional Information from AAO

The American Association of Orthodontists lists the following conditions as ones that may be well-suited for early treatment. Keep in mind, Dr. Wes evaluates these (and all) conditions on a case-by-case basis.

  • Underbites – when the lower front teeth are ahead of the upper front teeth
  • Crossbites – when the upper teeth are inside of the lowers
  • Functional shift – when the jaw shifts to one side as the teeth come together
  • Very crowded teeth
  • Excessively spaced teeth
  • Extra or missing teeth
  • Teeth that meet abnormally or don’t meet at all
  • Thumb-, finger- or pacifier- sucking that is affecting the teeth or jaw growth

Free Consultations + Special Offer for New Patients

Dr. Wes is currently offering a special promotion for new patients. Call (615) 282-5038 for more information. As always, initial consultations are free. For more info visit https://www.drwesortho.com/.

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