What was your deciding factor when choosing an orthodontist?

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What was your deciding factor when choosing an orthodontist?

#1 Post by frankie81 »

Hi, new to the board and in learning so much !

I've just seen two ortho practices and while the pricing is wildly different there are done other big variations that I have to consider. That said, which would you guys go with?

Practice 1: SPAMS and free snacks
- big fancy practice
- orthodontist availability was pretty good since they have only 2 locations
- recommended ceramic braces cost of approx $7000
- said I was not a candidate for Invisalign
- the free consult took a bunch of photos and head X-rays
- asked me if I was happy with my side profile - which I'm not
- about a 30 min drive from my house (if I'm only going once every two months this isn't too much of a consideration I guess?!)

Practice 2:
- less frills than practice 1
- they have about 10 locations so the orthodontist that I would be seeing is only in the office 4 days a month
- said that I could do either traditional braced or Invisalign ?
- they did take an X-ray of my side profile but didn't see any problem with my protruding mouth
- cost was about $1000 less than practice 1 ; pricing quote was the same for either treatment option
- friendlier orthodontist
- drive is about 45 min from our house

Wondering why there's such a large price difference ? and why I'm getting conflicting advice re: Invisalign?

As an aside, any recommendations for the Milwaukee area? I might want to visit a few more !!

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Re: What was your deciding factor when choosing an orthodont

#2 Post by mapleleafman888 »

I'd go for number 1. My options are nearly the same, as what you listed...the deciding factors for me were:

---Type of braces (I wanted damon clear)
---Experience of Orthodontist (33 years)
---Location of Ortho (10 min drive away)
---Cost is 6950

I went to 2 different Ortho's, first guy was a new grad and tried to wax me on the price-- 9000. And he said I was an invisalign candidate, but the results would not be optimal.
My story:http://www.archwired.com/phpbb2/viewtop ... =9&t=45354
Upper and Lower Damon Braces for 18 months!
I met 46 braceface adults when I had braces myself!

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Re: What was your deciding factor when choosing an orthodont

#3 Post by kathydell »

I did two consults as well:

Consult 1: Younger guy, newer in practice and affiliated with a high & mighty hospital/school. Said not a candidate for invisalign. Jaw surgery was optimal with a treatment estimate of 24 months. Loved his staff and their follow up was phenomenal. Wasn't entirely comfortable with him or his "we have to have perfection" approach. I got the impression he wants all of his cases to be written up in a journal. Right around the corner from my office so super convenient.

Consult 2: Woman, my age. Longer experience and recommended by my dentist. Said maybe a candidate for invisalign but it wouldn't give the results we'd both be happy with. Said she could give me a couple of options that would not include jaw surgery and would get me to 90% - we didn't need absolutely perfect (meaning surgery) to both be satisfied with the result. Treatment estimate of 16 months. Unfortunately, she's 25 minutes from my house and an hour and a half from my office. Not at all convenient.

Both would do ceramics, metals or a combination of both. Costs for each option were really similar.

I went with Consult 2 and had my braces in March. While it's incredibly inconvenient as a person working full time, it was so worth it to have someone who "got me" and someone I could work together with. I really connected with her and I feel like I could ask her anything. I'm a very curious person by nature so I ask a lot of questions and she never gets annoyed and explains everything.

In my mind, the two most important things are 1) experience and 2) whether you connect with them & their staff. You don't want to go through this 18-36 month journal with someone you don't like or someone whom you feel you can't ask questions or plan your treatment together. I see it here all the time.

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Re: What was your deciding factor when choosing an orthodont

#4 Post by SunshineRay »

If it were me I would go to a 3rd just to compare to the other 2. Of course Im crazy and went to like 5 or 6....I cant even remember, lol.

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Re: What was your deciding factor when choosing an orthodont

#5 Post by scotto7 »

One of my criteria was to find someone that had some academic involvement, kinda implied a bit of giving back and deep knowledge of his subject area. The guy I chose happened to be the senior lecturer at a UK top 5 University, so after seeing 3 other ortho's (all of whom were good), I just plumped for my guy.

He is slightly more expensive than the rest, but we're only talking 5-8%.

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Re: What was your deciding factor when choosing an orthodont

#6 Post by farmboy »

I went to five consultations. The orthodontist I chose impressed me right away. Here are several reasons:

- Even though the consultation was free, she spent 45 minutes examining my teeth and dental records. She asked me detailed questions some of the other doctors didn't (mainly because most of the other doctors spent 10 minutes talking to me, if I was lucky). She schedules 45 minutes for every appointment, even if it's just a retainer check, just to make sure she's not rushed. Some of the offices I visited, one orthodontist had five or six patients in chairs all at once!

- She has more than 20 years in as an orthodontic specialist. I found a lot of the orthodontists in my area were only two or three years out of school. There's nothing wrong with that, but her experience weighed heavily in my decision.

- Price: A full treatment cost about half of what I was quoted at other offices. I think this is because my orthodontist does ALL the work herself, without a single assistant. The office is also older, and she doesn't have a fancy website to create a lot of overhead costs.

- Chairside manner: I always felt like creating straight smiles was honestly a real passion for my orthodontist, and not just a high-paying job. She always asked if I had any problems or concerns at each adjustment, and really listened to what I had to say. Plus she leads by example: On the wall, she keeps a picture of herself working on a patient in dental school. She (not the patient) is sporting a big smile with full braces and headgear!

Sorry for the long post. Hope this helps.

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Re: What was your deciding factor when choosing an orthodont

#7 Post by frankie81 »

Great comments! Thank you! I'm leaning towards practice 1 at this point but my husband wants me to see a few more... I don't know how many head X-rays I can handle!!

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Re: What was your deciding factor when choosing an orthodont

#8 Post by kathydell »

Frankie81 - I also just thought of another reason why the practice with multiple locations might be troublesome as you mentioned your specific orthodontist would only be available at that one location about 4 days a month. What if you have to reschedule an appointment for some reason? You will have two options 1) see a different ortho and I've never heard a good story when more than one ortho is involved in the same treatment plan or 2) wait a long time for your reschedule or maybe drive a long way to another location. I bring it up because althought we try not to miss an appointment or reschedule, it does happen. I missed one due to getting out of work late and having excessive traffic due to an accident. It just happens sometimes and that practice would really limit your options in that case. Just food for thought.

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Re: What was your deciding factor when choosing an orthodont

#9 Post by isthistaken »

There's always a trade-off. You might get less personal attention at the most popular restaurant in town, and it might cost more.

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Re: What was your deciding factor when choosing an orthodont

#10 Post by coreym95 »

Are you able to check out reviews on both orthos?

I went to 2 consults. They both gave me the same bottom line.. 18-20 months in braces, and 4 extractions. One was over $1,000 more than the other. One was Damon (cost more) and one was traditional. The Damon ortho seemed a little more high tech (not sure if that matters but it was just a perception), they took a ton of pictures and took a full 3D rotating X-ray. The other one took a normal X-ray, that's no fun! The Damon ortho spent more time with me and was very positive and reassuring. The other was very brief and to the point. Both facilties has pretty much 100% positive reviews.

While I'm sure I would be getting the same results from both practices I chose the...drumroll... Damon ortho (despite the cost) for the following reasons:

1) I liked the idea of Damon brackets and having appointments only every 10 weeks.
2) Ortho spent more time during the consult
3) He wanted to do the extractions after I was braced and wait until at least after my first 10 week appointment. Said there was a chance we wouldn't have to extract (still haven't extracted). Other ortho pretty said it was a done deal. I'm pretty confident I will be getting the extractions but just having the chance is a good thing.
4) Slightly more convenient office location.

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Re: What was your deciding factor when choosing an orthodont

#11 Post by Realizingadream »


I had I think 3 opinions before I went with the guy who gave me the best answers, looked me in the eye, and even made me get an extra medical test done to be sure the treatment would work and that the teeth would move.

The first one, NEVER GOT BACK TO ME! This fella is about 5 minutes from my house. Message received. I don't know why he didn't even respond! My dentist had recommended him. Shrug. This was not at ALL helpful for my self esteem, especially since I had, by getting estimates, admitted needed help for my teeth. Grr.

The second one, she was only going to brace and move the top teeth. That seemed like a decent idea. I didn't see anything wrong with the bottom teeth--who sees them anyway? Her office is about a 25-minute drive from my place. One of her adult patients was leaving, having had her braces taken off that very day that I was there. She didn't look happy at all. Hmmm.

The third one, the one I decided to let do the work, was very thorough. His staff was kind and called me by name. They said they had all been PATIENTS of his, earlier! They had nice smiles! His estimate was actually a few bucks less than the lady doc's estimate, and he was going to do more work, move the top and the bottom teeth! And he's a 45-minute drive away. Ugh. His father is an orthodontist, as are several family members, uncles and such. I am completely sold on him. My teeth are coming along nicely.

About those bottom teeth the lady doc wasn't going to do anything to, I did not even realize how cranked over on their sides a few of them were, until they straightened up.



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Re: What was your deciding factor when choosing an orthodont

#12 Post by jenrocks4 »

I went to four different orthos (three in 2009, and one in 2012). I have an open bite from a poorly made night guard a previous dentist made. The first two orthos I went to said I need to have surgery, one said, "No problem, I can fix that..." a little too flippant. I decided that I didn't want the braces at that point in my life....

Fast forward to 2012 and I decided to look into braces again between having my first and second child. I went back to one of the orthos I saw in 2012, and again said surgery is my only fix, and I have a tongue thrust issue now too. I went to one last ortho after that one, and decided to go with him. He actually started his practice with my original ortho when I had braces the first time at 13, so he has tons of experience!! The reasons I really liked him:
--He said my open bite was caused by my stupid night guard (which I had suspected)
--He has a study club with other orthos and dentists, and brought my case to them for consultation, as well as other orthos he knows.
--He acknowledged that closing my bite would be difficult with just braces, but he wanted to help me, and wanted to be conserative with the treatment plan (I don't even have TADS, commonly used to close open bites)
--He has 20 plus years of experience
--The cost was comparable to the others, and no extra cost for ceramic braces
--He is always patience with my 10,000 questions
--Bottomline, I totally trust his expertise and abilities

I think it's good to know what you are looking for in an ortho (experience, academia connections etc), and go with one that feels right based on how they treat you, your potential treatment plan etc....

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Re: What was your deciding factor when choosing an orthodont

#13 Post by Ciara »

My ortho is the only functional orthodontist in this city. She was also recommended to me by my dentist, my neighbors (also dentists) and my colleague.

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Re: What was your deciding factor when choosing an orthodont

#14 Post by samoorelaw »

I chose my orthodontist simply because my dentist recommended him; I didn't even get a second opinion because I was told by two different surgeons and my dentist I needed jaw surgery, so I didn't question it when my orthodontist said I needed surgery (bad underbite, so need surgery on upper jaw). I feel so irresponsible/lazy for not going to other orthodontists! I made the decision very quickly, too: even the financial coordinator at my orthodontist's office commented that she hadn't seen someone make a decision to get braces as quickly as I did. :)
Braces removed for 3rd and final time July 14, 2016!!!!

Permanent 8 crowns front 8 teeth (upper) January 30, 2015

Braces removed again December 3, 2014!!

Partial braces re-installation September 25, 2014

Braces removed September 4, 2014!





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Re: What was your deciding factor when choosing an orthodont

#15 Post by orchid04 »

I chose my ortho after going to several because:

She is one of the top rated orthodontist in NJ
Her facility was more welcoming
Her and her staff were very knowledgeable
even though i was told i could only get braces not invisalign and said i needed extractions which i wasn't thrilled about

compared to...

An ortho who had no patients yet didn't greet me
ortho who told me i would have less extraction but didn't mention my profile how it would be affected
ortho who gave me an option of invisalign

You spend a lot of money on braces anyway so you should be fully happy and go to someone who knows what they are doing. If you are not happy with your side profile, you may have what I have Bimaxillary Protrusion and may need extractions. The end result is forever you probably wont want to do it again or look back with regret.

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