Nothing improves your self-esteem as much as a beautiful smile, and nothing improves your smile as much as straighter teeth. So, what questions should you ask when choosing an orthodontist for your new smile?
A successful orthodontic treatment experience isn’t just about receiving professional and gentle care. You also need to trust that your doctor and the orthodontic team have your best interests in mind and heart. At Texas Family Orthodontics in San Antonio and Windcrest, TX, we believe that the essence of good health is helping people – especially children – feel good about themselves, about us, and about others. Orthodontic treatment is more than just straightening teeth. Orthodontics builds self-esteem and self-confidence so you can put your best smile forward!
We prioritize patient education here because you should always know what’s going on with your treatment. So, we know you deserve an experienced orthodontist that helps you feel empowered from your first appointment to your most recent.
But what else should you be asking? To help you begin your orthodontic journey, we’ve put together this list of questions to ask before committing to an orthodontic practice for treatment.
Is the doctor a trained orthodontic specialist?
You would think this is easy for your decision-making, but you might also be surprised to discover that just because your dentist offers orthodontic treatment doesn’t mean they are specially trained in orthodontics. Many general dentists also provide braces treatment and clear aligner therapy in addition to standard dental services such as cleanings, fillings, crowns, and dentures. While an orthodontist, on the other hand, specializes only in providing orthodontic services.
After a dentist has completed their undergraduate medical education, they must attend a graduate school specifically for dentistry and pass a certification exam before beginning their general dentistry work. The same goes for orthodontists, except they must attend an extremely competitive orthodontic residency program after their general dentistry certification. These programs typically last another 2 to 3 years and include full-time training meaning the orthodontist has:
- Studied the growth and maturation of 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
While there are some exceptions, most dentists simply will not possess this level of in-depth orthodontic training and experience. If you are looking for foundational oral health maintenance, trust your dentist. But, if you need specialized orthodontic care, you can trust that Dr. Katie Vo has almost a decade of experience specifically in orthodontics and is dedicated to staying up-to-date on the latest research techniques in orthodontic care. You want an expert orthodontist like Dr. Vo to create your new smile–not aligners you order through the mail.
Known for excellent service, a woman’s attention to detail, and for creating beautiful, healthy smiles, Dr. Vo savors the opportunity to create confident, lasting smiles in her community.
What treatment options does the orthodontist offer?
Most patients we treat opt for traditional metal braces to straighten their teeth, and while this is the most common option, you have several other options available to reach your smile goals quickly and effectively. By pairing state-of-the-art technology with our thorough understanding of the movement during facial growth, Dr. Vo can successfully treat many dental issues based on your unique needs and goals using InBrace Lingual braces, metal or clear braces, Invisalign, and Invisalign Teen.
InBrace’s Smartwire system is personalized to your mouth and designed to gently move your teeth according to the treatment plan our doctors create just for you. With InBrace from Texas Family Orthodontics, you won’t have to deal with painful monthly tightenings, managing your tray wear time, or bulky, visible wires– this option places the appliances on the back of your teeth, and the Smartwire ensures efficiency.
Conventional Metal Braces
Metal or traditional braces have been around for many decades and are the original powerhouses of orthodontic treatment. Thanks to technological advancements in orthodontics, today’s metal braces are smaller, lighter, and much more effective at significant adjustment needs than their bulky predecessors.
Traditional metal braces work by attaching a metal bracket to the front sides of your teeth and securing those brackets together with an archwire. This archwire is held on by elastic ties that come in various colors for ultimate personalization. Every 6-8 weeks, your orthodontist adjusts the archwire to create slight but precise tooth movement for the desired outcome.
Clear braces are a more aesthetic option than traditional metal braces. This ingenious option works just like metal braces, except this method swaps the metal brackets for clear or tooth-colored polycrystalline ceramic brackets, making them virtually undetectable. Many teen patients have even found that bright-colored elastic ties can create an almost neon effect that really pops!
Unlike traditional braces, orthodontic treatment with Invisalign doesn’t rely on a system of metal or ceramic brackets and wires. Instead, Invisalign uses 3-D computer technology to create a custom-fit series of invisible, removable acrylic trays that straighten your teeth by applying steady pressure on your teeth as you wear them. They are replaced every 1 to 2 weeks to make this adjustment gradually. Though you can remove them to eat and brush your teeth, you will need to wear them about 22 hours a day to be effective.
At Texas Family Orthodontics, we also are excited to offer Invisalign Teen. This option works the same as standard Invisalign, but the trays have a small dot on the back to indicate adequate wear to help your teen stay accountable for their treatment. And, since we all know teens are still physically growing, Invisalign for Teen provides ample space for mature molars to erupt during treatment.
How frequent are follow-up appointments with the orthodontist?
While your exact follow-up timing will vary depending on your orthodontic treatment plan, we will schedule most patients’ adjustment appointments every four to eight weeks. Patients using Invisalign may be seen slightly less frequently, but these appointments are crucial for your overall orthodontic process!
The average process will take anywhere from 8 to 36 months to achieve your perfect smile, but visible results are evident as early as the first few months with most treatment plans. We know you’re busy, and we value your time, just give us a heads up if you’re running late or need to reschedule, but don’t forget that your participation in the follow-up care is just as meaningful.
It’s an easy choice with Dr. Katie Vo and Texas Family Orthodontics!
From the moment you contact our office to your final retainer check appointment, we want you to feel loved and important while your confident new smile is in progress. Texas Family Orthodontics is a family-owned practice committed to giving your family high-quality care in a warm environment you’ll look forward to visiting.
There’s never been a better time to reach for the smile you’ve always wanted, so get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with our expert orthodontic team! We have convenient office hours to make it easier for your family to fit your treatment into your busy schedule. And, if you ever need us, we are always available!