Questions to Ask When Choosing an Orthodontist

When choosing an orthodontist to straighten out your smile, the choices may feel overwhelming — and your questions? Endless. Because it is such a significant investment and life milestone for an individual of any age, getting braces comes with its fair share of pros and cons to weigh. 

At Sycamore Orthodontics, we know that a successful orthodontic treatment experience isn’t just about receiving professional and gentle care. The choice also comes down to trusting that your doctor and their team have your back throughout the process, and developing that trust means asking the right questions. If you’re wondering what questions to ask when choosing an orthodontist, we’ve got you covered. 

#1. Is the doctor a trained orthodontic specialist?

You may think that this question comes with an obvious answer. Still, many people are surprised to learn that the professional advising their orthodontic care is not actually a trained orthodontist. Although all orthodontists are considered dentists, not every dentist is an orthodontist. Even though your dentist offers orthodontic care alongside cleanings, fillings, and crowns, that does not mean they have the expertise to align your teeth in the same way a trained orthodontist does. 

To become a certified orthodontist, an individual must complete their undergraduate medical education, attend a graduate program specifically for dentistry, and pass a certification exam. In addition, they must also compete for a position in a rigorous orthodontic residency program after their general dentistry certification. These programs usually last two to three years and include full-time training, meaning they have:

  • 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

Sycamore Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry is an exception to the rule, but most general dentists do not have this depth of training under their belt. 

Just like with any medical field, it is important to see a specialist for the area of care you require. If you are looking for foundational oral health maintenance, you’ll want to visit your general or pediatric dentist. If you are looking to change the structure of your jawline or fix a malocclusion, you will need the care of a trained orthodontist for the best results. 

#2. What treatment options does the orthodontist offer?

Knowing which treatment options the orthodontist specializes in is a critical factor in deciding on the practice you want to work with. Getting braces is a lengthy process that requires years of work in some cases. Because of the duration of the process, you should carefully consider the methods that would become available to you at the orthodontic office in question before you commit to working with them.  

Sycamore Orthodontics offers a wide range of orthodontic treatment options for all ages, including: 

Metal Braces

As the traditional option, metal braces are often the first that come to mind when considering orthodontic treatment. These braces work by tightening the wire attached to a bracket glued to each tooth. With gentle, continuous pressure, your teeth are aligned over a period of 12-36 months, depending on the severity of your case, your mouth’s response to treatment, and your desired outcome.

Clear Braces

Clear braces work the same way as metal braces. The difference is that clear braces use white ceramic brackets that blend in with the color of your teeth and provide a less noticeable appearance.


This removable treatment option uses a series of clear trays that adjust your teeth without wires or brackets. Because they are clear, this option allows you to straighten your teeth with an almost invisible look. By wearing these trays for 22 hours per day for 9-15 months, you’ll see results in no time.

Questions to Ask When Choosing an Orthodontist

#3. What are my payment options?

Your smile is an investment, and you deserve to understand the financial commitment that comes with it. Be sure to ask questions about financing options, payment plans, and insurance policies before you move forward. 

Sycamore Orthodontics believes in making confident smiles an affordable practice. While each and every case requires a different approach, we offer a free consultation so that you can feel comfortable and knowledgeable about the orthodontic path we provide before we ask for your commitment. We are dedicated to making affordable smiles a reality with available payment plans and a range of accepted insurance providers.

#4. How frequent are follow-up appointments with the orthodontist? 

While your exact follow-up timing will vary depending on the orthodontic treatment plan you and our expert team determine is right for you, we will schedule most patients’ adjustment appointments every four to eight weeks. Patients using Invisalign may be seen slightly less frequently, but regardless, 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. 

Choose Sycamore Orthodontics

At Sycamore Orthodontics, our team grows alongside your family, building trusting relationships that last a lifetime. From pediatric dentistry to orthodontic treatment, we have all the bases covered to make sure you and your family are taken care of. If you’ve been considering getting braces for yourself or your child, or you just want to learn more about the process, schedule a free consultation today!