Thanks to advancements in orthodontic technology over the years, it’s easier than ever to align your bite and achieve a beautifully straight smile. There are numerous treatment options available, from traditional braces to Invisalign clear aligners. But what if you aren’t sure about what you should ask before choosing an orthodontist to care for your smile? That’s where the team at Adult & Pediatric Orthodontics comes in!
Choosing a qualified provider you feel comfortable with is important to ensure the best results. An orthodontist will have the training and skills to create the smile you’ve always wanted, but with so many out there, you may not be sure where to begin! Let’s take a closer look at what you should ask before deciding on an orthodontist.
Back to basics: what is an orthodontist?
At Adult & Pediatric Orthodontics, we believe you should always start with the basics! So what exactly is an orthodontist, anyway? To put it simply, an orthodontist is a dentist who has had extra years of education and training that focus on identifying, preventing, and correcting misaligned teeth and jaws.
While both dentists and orthodontists follow the same path to start, they go their separate ways after dental school. At that point, an orthodontist must complete a minimum of two years of study in an orthodontic residency program accredited by the American Dental Association.
These programs tend to be highly competitive. They usually accept only the top students in any dental school’s graduating class! Aspiring orthodontists participate in intensive full-time training on identifying and correcting orthodontic issues safely and effectively. By the time the residency is complete, they will have:
- studied how the teeth and jaw grow
- been introduced to a variety of case studies
- developed diagnostic skills
- learned specific biomechanical techniques to move the teeth properly
- studied how to change the development of the dental alveolar complex and positively affect the facial growth of younger patients
As you can see, there’s a lot of hard work and dedication that goes into becoming an orthodontist like Dr. Yu! Speaking of…
What education and training does the orthodontist have?
Dr. Yu graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. She received her dental degree from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and graduated with the highest honors. She then completed orthodontic specialty training at Tufts. Dr. Yu is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists and the Maine Dental Association.
What treatment options does the orthodontist offer?
Traditional metal braces
These orthodontic workhorses have a long history of successful treatment and are great at correcting many oral issues. At Adult & Pediatric Orthodontics, Damon metal braces continue to be the top orthodontic treatment for patients of all ages! Damon braces are the first self-ligating bracket system. They use lighter wires and lower friction brackets, which results in fewer appointments, less discomfort, and faster treatment.
Clear ceramic braces
Damon Clear braces look less noticeable on your teeth than traditional metal braces. They’re smaller than ever and made of nearly invisible tooth-colored polycrystalline ceramic material. These ceramic options blend in well with your natural smile. Though they’re not entirely invisible, and the brackets are about the same size and shape, they’re much less noticeable than metal braces. Ceramic braces offer a discreet treatment option, but they can sometimes be more fragile and expensive than metal ones. Because of this, Dr. Yu typically recommends them for older teen and adult patients.
Invisalign clear aligner therapy
Invisalign is an exciting alternative to braces that uses a series of clear aligners to straighten the teeth instead of brackets and wires. They’re designed to be removable, which offers patients a bit more freedom and flexibility than braces do. The trays are made of a soft thermoplastic resin and custom-designed to fit snugly but comfortably over the teeth.
Patient compliance is important with the Invisalign system. The aligners need to be worn for 20-22 hours per day throughout the treatment process to work. They must also be switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks to keep up with the teeth’ movements.
Not all braces are appropriate for every case, which is why Dr. Yu creates personalized treatment plans for every patient based on their unique needs and goals. We’re Invisalign Platinum Providers at our offices in Portland and Windham, so if you want the confidence that comes with a beautiful smile, see us.
How often are follow-up visits with the orthodontist?
Whatever treatment option you choose, you should expect regular follow-up visits throughout the process. These are usually scheduled for every 8-12 weeks, depending on your custom treatment plan. Since you’ll be seeing the orthodontist regularly over this period, it’s extra important to choose a practice that you feel comfortable with!
During these visits, Dr. Yu will check how your teeth are moving and ensure the treatment plan is proceeding as it should be. These appointments are an essential part of your orthodontic journey, so you should always do your best to keep them! Failure to do so can lengthen your total treatment time.
Is Adult & Pediatric Orthodontics the right fit for your smile?
Choosing an orthodontist is a big decision, and we know it’s not one you take lightly! We work hard to earn your trust with our world-class care, customized treatment plans, and exceptional results. With convenient locations in Portland and Windham, it’s never been easier to get the smile you’ve always wanted! Get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation with our expert team.