In the field of dentistry there is always one aspect that is growing rapidly. Many years ago it was white fillings, then smile makeovers (veneers) and then it was implants. The current “trend” is adult orthodontics. More and more adults are seeking to improve their smiles as naturally as possible, after all isn’t it better to have your teeth in the right position and look straight, than to build them up with veneers or fillings.
So what are some of the orthodontic options available?
Dentist vs Specialist treatment, Short term orthodontics vs comprehensive treatment, Fixed braces vs aligners/removable braces, Braces fitted on the outside of the teeth vs braces fitted to the back of the teeth. The choice is mind boggling!
With so much marketing of the many teeth straightening options, it’s easy for prospective patients to get led down a path that seems to tick all of their boxes – “This product” is just what you need, to get you the result you want in the timeframes you have set. Unfortunately, the reality sometimes doesn’t match the hype, so here are my pearls of wisdom to try and untangle the mystery for you.
1) A brace of any type is a TOOL to move the teeth – you are not buying a product so don’t buy on the basis of this. How that tool is used will depend on the person using it, and how good it is as a tool will be meaningless if the operator doesn’t know how to use it properly. Conversely a skilled operator can get the best out of a less efficient tool as well.
2) DON’T believe the hype – it’s no good just talking the talk you have to walk the walk. Ask to see results, talk to previous patients and don’t forget to ask about failures. After all if you’re buying something on the internet don’t you look at the negative feedback as well as the positive?
3) KNOW what you want – have a wish list. A good provider will listen to your wants and needs and be able to tell you if they can achieve them. If they can’t, they will tell you what they can do. It’s important that your expectations are managed properly otherwise you will be unhappy with the outcome. Be wary of someone who promises the moon and stars – if it sounds too good to be true it might very well be.
4) SHOP AROUND – by this I mean go and see different providers – as much as you love your general dentist (you trust them after all) they may not be the best option. Get a few orthodontic opinions and be prepared to invest a bit of time/money. Free consultations may seem attractive but do you get value for money? We, personally, take nearly an hour with each new patient. We like to get to know our prospective patients and really find out what they want to get out of their treatment, as well as do a full examination with photos and x-rays, before we recommend any solution.
5) GO WITH YOUR GUT – you have a secret radar built in and when you get that feeling that you’re in the right place, or with the right people you’ll know. Be prepared to invest a bit more money too for the right person. Remember you may be seeing the provider for a year or more, so you want good service from friendly people who care, for the whole of your treatment. You also want to be confident that if you have problems or concerns you’ll be looked after too.
So orthodontic treatment is a combination of; the tools (or braces!) for straightening teeth, the knowledge, experience and skill of the person wielding them AND the customer journey and environment of the practice where you choose to undertake the treatment. So a bit of research on your part with a few opinions will help you make the right decision for you, after all you’re worth it aren’t you?