3 Questions to Ask When Choosing an Orthodontist

Choosing to improve your oral health with orthodontic treatment is a significant decision and one we know you don’t take lightly. With so many important factors to consider, it’s normal to find yourself feeling slightly overwhelmed. If you’re not sure where to start, Texas Family Orthodontics is here to help! We believe that all patients should feel educated and empowered when it comes to their orthodontic journey. Your smile is unique and too important to trust to anyone less than an expert. That’s why your first step should be finding an experienced orthodontist you can trust! We’ve put together this list of 3 questions to ask when choosing an orthodontist. Keep reading to learn more!

Is the doctor a trained orthodontic specialist?

This probably seems like a self-explanatory question, but it’s the most important thing you can ask when looking into treatment for yourself or your child. Some general dentists also provide orthodontic treatment, even though most don’t specialize in it. 

You’ll typically see dentists offering dental services such as cleanings, crowns, fillings, and dentures. Occasionally, you may run into one that offers orthodontic treatment as well. For example, more dentists than ever are currently offering Invisalign clear aligner therapy. In contrast, an orthodontist focuses on providing nothing but orthodontic services to patients of all ages in their community.

This distinction matters: An orthodontist is a dentist who has also had several years of specialized training and experience. An experienced orthodontist like Dr. Vo 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

And that’s just for starters! Orthodontic residency programs are exceptionally competitive and generally only accept the top students in any dental school graduating class. The programs usually last two or three years and include full-time training that focuses solely on correcting orthodontic issues with braces and aligners. Although there are always exceptions to every rule, most general dentists won’t possess this same level of thorough orthodontic training and experience. 

To become an orthodontist, Dr. Katie Vo studied at the University of Minnesota where she earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree and received the Pierre Fauchard Certificate of Merit for outstanding and dedicated service to the dental profession. Following dental school, she was accepted to the University of Minnesota orthodontic residency program, completed the written board exam, and received her Certificate in Orthodontics. After moving to San Antonio, Dr. Vo attended West Texas A&M University to earn her master’s degree in business administration. 

Dr. Vo has over eleven years of experience in the exclusive practice of orthodontics and is dedicated to staying up to date on the latest research and techniques in orthodontic care. Her lifelong passion for learning means regular attendance at continuing education and training seminars. She’s also an active member of several professional organizations. 

What treatment options does the orthodontist offer?

There’s truly never been a better time to explore orthodontic treatment! Advancements in technology and technique have resulted in more treatment options than ever before. Texas Family Orthodontics is proud to offer the following treatments.

Traditional Metal Braces

Traditional metal braces are the most common type of braces and are more comfortable today than ever before. Metal braces are made out of stainless steel and 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 the brackets are made from clear materials. Because of this, they’re a more subtle treatment option. We usually recommend ceramic braces for teenagers and adult patients who have cosmetic concerns. While they are visually less prominent, they require more care and attention as ceramic braces are larger and more brittle than their metal counterparts. Ceramic braces tend to be used more on upper front teeth than on lower teeth.

Invisalign Clear Aligner Therapy

Instead of brackets, bands, and wires, the Invisalign system uses a series of customized aligners to straighten your teeth gently over time. These aligners are almost invisible and also removable, giving you the freedom to eat and drink what you want while in treatment. It will be easier to brush and floss while wearing Invisalign aligners. The aligners are designed to fit comfortably over your teeth and have no metal to cause mouth abrasions during treatment. Aligner therapy is usually recommended for teenagers and adult patients who have cosmetic concerns.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces, or hidden braces, are braces that go on the backside of your teeth. The brackets are custom made to fit you, so they’re able to work quickly and comfortably. The best part is that they’re the only completely invisible treatment option. No one will even know you’re wearing braces until they notice your beautiful new smile! 

How frequent are follow-up visits with the orthodontist?

Whatever treatment option you decide on with your orthodontist, you can expect relatively frequent visits to the office throughout the treatment process. These check-ups are an essential part of treatment, so you should try your best not to miss them! Our office normally schedules them for every 4-8 weeks or so, depending on the appliance you’re using. During these visits, Dr. Vo will check that your teeth are moving safely, make any necessary adjustments, and replace any worn-out rubber bands if you’re wearing braces.

Every smile is different, and each patient responds to treatment in their own way, so the total time in aligners or braces will always vary from case to case. In general, however, the average patient will spend anywhere from 12-24 months in treatment. You’ll regularly see your orthodontist over this period, so it’s essential to choose a practice that makes you feel right at home.

Trust your smile to the experts at Texas Family Orthodontics

If you’re looking for a rewarding and stress-free orthodontic experience, Texas Family Orthodontics is the place to go. We have a talented team with years of experience in providing top-quality care and world-class service, and Dr. Vo has made it her goal to offer personalized treatment with outstanding results. 

If you’re ready to take the first step, we’d love to meet you and walk you through our treatment options. There’s never been a better time to transform your smile! Schedule a free consultation to start your new smile journey.