Tips for selecting a great orthodontist: a guide for new patients


By Robert Sunstein, DDS

As the holiday season draws increasingly near, orthodontics – and frankly, healthcare in general – may be the last thing on your mind, buried somewhere far below the more immediate and pleasant distraction of Thanksgiving recipes, travel plans, gift-giving budgets and what to get for that special someone. And yet, if orthodontic care is in the cards for you or your child, selecting a great doctor is one of the best and most important gifts you can give to yourself – not to mention one that will far outlast this year’s turkey dinner. As Virginia-based orthodontist Dr. Alan Bagden recently told

The Seattle Times

, a patient’s relationship with their orthodontist is one that can last for years: so when it comes time to choose, give yourself the gift of time – and make the choice that works for you and your family.

Most likely, your dentist will offer an initial orthodontist referral for your convenience once you decide to seek treatment. However, it is important to remember that the choice is up to you. The following tips can help you make an informed decision for the long haul:

  • Spend some time researching the reputations, credentials, advantages and disadvantages of other practices in your area. As an orthodontic patient, you are likely to be spending a fair amount of time at your doctor’s office; so be sure to also consider factors like proximity, parking, office environment and personal comfort when making a decision.
  • Once you’ve narrowed down your list, request an obligation-free consultation with any orthodontists you wish to meet in person. Most of the time, these meetings are free of charge – and an excellent opportunity to ask questions about treatment methods and philosophy, pricing, insurance coverage, specialties and before and after patient photos.
  • Confirm your orthodontist’s credentials to ensure that he or she is board certified. While it is possible for dentists to offer certain orthodontic services with minimal training, board certified orthodontists possess the clinical experience and peer review qualifications that set them apart as specialized professionals.
  • Finally, be comfortable with your chosen doctor as a person – and, if your child will be the patient, make sure he or she has the chance to meet and get familiar with the prospective orthodontist.

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Your orthodontist, just like your family doctor or dentist, should be a trusted resource for questions, information and top-quality healthcare; and at our La Jolla orthodontics practice, we are committed to providing all of this and more to our valued patients and fellow community members. Our beautifully appointed, state-of-the-art office is designed for optimal patient comfort, complete with ample parking and flexible office hours to suit busy patient schedules. We genuinely care about our patients, and look forward to helping them achieve their best and sunniest smiles. To learn more or schedule a consultation, visit us online: