How to Choose an Orthodontist

Recently I broke a tooth playing indoor soccer and the most painful part of the experience was the sound I heard when it happened! I didn’t even need to check my teeth, I knew one of them was broken. Luckily, I found the other half of my tooth, but the damage had already been done and upon looking in the mirror, it was pretty obvious that I needed to have oral surgery.

I’ve always looked after my teeth, and this was largely due to the fact that my father never brushed his teeth as a child, so he was adamant that I didn’t make the same mistake. “20 seconds on each tooth” was the mantra he gave him during the sacred ritual. He wasn’t a religious man, but to call him religious with his children’s teeth is a mild understatement. I, like him, also didn’t want to make the same mistakes with my teeth as he had a smile full of gold and needed expensive and painful root canals every couple of years. I remember him coming home from the dentist in all sorts of pain and agony!

Funnily enough, my father’s cousin is a dentist and we got on like a house on fire. Despite this, I never liked to see her in the chair because she would always be yapping on about something and would get so enthused that she’d sometimes hit a nerve and I’d jolt in pain! I was a smoker in my younger years and looking back she was probably the main reason why I quit. I’d only see her roughly every six months but spending 10 minutes at the end of each appointment listening to her talk about the dangers of smoking was like ramming a packet of cigarettes down my throat. It just wasn’t worth it anymore.

When I saw her the day after I broke my tooth, she was naturally sympathetic and referred me to three orthodontists who would be suitable to fix a broken tooth. This made me question why she was referring me to three instead of one. To her, it was like a knee jerk reaction as she explained, because if she only referred me to one orthodontist and something went wrong, she and that particular orthodontist would be liable for a lawsuit. Giving patients more than one choice means that the patient will need to make the decision themselves, alleviating any responsibility of wrongdoing on the dentist’s behalf. Of course, I would never sue her but having the names of three orthodontists in my hand made me wonder how I would go about choosing one.

So, I asked her how I would choose an orthodontist if I didn’t see her about my tooth and just did an online search for orthodontists in my area. She explained that most orthodontists differ in training, experience, and in personality. While some orthodontists specialise in straightening teeth, others may specialise in tooth removal and implants for example. Orthodontists also have various levels of experience, and the more experienced they are, the higher the prices they charge. Where the younger doctors are generally optimistic and perfectionists, the older doctors are typically very clinical but relaxed.

With this information in mind, I did a bit of research and choose an orthodontist who specialised in tooth repair. Given that the problem wasn’t too complex, I was happy that the same orthodontist was a middle-aged man with plenty of experience but whose prices weren’t too high. When all was said and done, I was very happy with my experience at the orthodontist and I’ve had no problems with my tooth since.

If you find yourself in a position where you need to choose an orthodontist, it can be challenging since almost all orthodontists have different prices and plans. From my experience, its best to choose an orthodontist that specialises in the specific problem you have, and the complexity of the problem should be aligned with the experience of the orthodontist.

After flicking through some magazines at the orthodontist’s office, I found there are some amazing new teeth straightening options available today. In most cases, braces aren’t needed to straighten teeth anymore and patients can use a treatment called ‘Invisalign’ which uses clear, removable aligners instead. Dr Steven Semaan on the Gold Coast is an experienced Black Diamond Invisalign provider, so if you’re interested in comfortable and convenient teeth straightening options, get in touch with the friendly staff at Clear Smiles Orthodontics by phoning 07 5593 3373.

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