Deciding between two orthodontists

Discussions about treatment with invisible braces that use clear aligners, such as Invisalign, OrthoClear, the Red White and Blue system, etc.

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Deciding between two orthodontists

#1 Post by exit109 »

So after many years of dealing with unhappiness about my smile and the challenges of flossing and brushing around crowded teeth...I'm committed to getting orthodontics work done. I've been to three consultations (Washington, DC area), and now I just need to pick one. The problem, as is always the case, is that I really like one that is significantly more than the other.

I have an overjet of about 5mm, plus some crossbite action and a lot of crowding on top and bottom. The proposed treatment was basically the same between two - 15 months or so of Invisalign. Costs were also inclusive of all aligners/refinements, retainer at the end, etc. Option 1 said swap trays every 10 days, 2 said we would do it once a week (!)

To recap:
Option 1 - $7700 ($5700 after insurance)
Referred by my dentist who I really like
Very experienced, about 25+ years in the area & top Invisalign providers
Answered my questions thoroughly and patiently - didn't feel like I was rushing or annoying him with a billion questions
Did an x-ray and scans; appointment took about an hour
High number of strong reviews online

Option 2 - $5200 ($3200 after insurance)
Found on the internet (had the highest number of good reviews)
Appointment lasted about 15 minutes
Said what he would do and then referred me to office manager for any other questions (said he would probably get too "technical")
Told me I have an overbite and the jaws don't line up...when I mentioned that I was told before that I have an overjet, he said that is what I have but didn't want to confuse me by using an unfamiliar term
Wants to do rubber bands as part of treatment which I'm really not excited about
Seemed a little judgmental about my oral health (though, I tend to assume that due to my own sensitivity about my teeth)
Younger - not a bad thing, but just less experience overall
Does have a lot of experience with Invisalign - among their top 1% of providers

I really loved option 1...but I feel like I'm totally bonkers for even considering an option that is literally $2500 more than option 2, when the results will probably be similar. I guess in an effort to help my decision making, I wanted to see if anyone else has been in a similar situation and how you determined which way to go. Thanks in advance! Really looking forward to starting my Invisalign journey :D

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Re: Deciding between two orthodontists

#2 Post by Beemur »

If I were you, I would go the 1st option. I got referred to my orthodontist by my dentist, he is very thorough and amazing. I was talking to a lady at reception at my dentist who said she went to the orthodontist next door to the dental clinic 3 years ago, out of convenience for her because it's right next door to her work. She only paid $4,600 but because he was so slack with things she is going through Invisalign again with my orthodontist, costing another $5,000. I paid $9,200 all up, but it's all been worth it to me. He is very clear about everything that needs to be done and discusses everything very intricately first. To me, the second guy seems like he might keep you a bit out of the loop and doesn't seem to have much time for his patients. I love asking a million questions to my orthodontist, there's nothing worse than having anxiety and no one to calm your nerves haha.
I guess orthodontics are one of those things that it's good to pay a little more than you would like sometimes because if it isn't done right the first time it's scary because it's such a big sum of money. But yeah, I think Mr. Option 1 sounds the best :D

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Re: Deciding between two orthodontists

#3 Post by exit109 »

Thank you for the insight!! That’s kind of the direction I was leaning in as well, though $2,500 in my pocket is hard to give up. But given the differences in office experiences and general years of experience, I can see why orthodontics is not the place to necessarily skimp :) Especially when I didn’t care for the second ortho and his price was the outlier. Makes you wonder, even with those strong reviews.

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Location: Toronto and Markham

Re: Deciding between two orthodontists

#4 Post by DrJasonKTam »

It is really tough to make a decision still based upon the information you've provided. At the end of the day, you have to feel comfortable that you will get the same results in each office, which is not necessarily the case. However, it would also be nice to have a good experience along the way. Some things to consider:

Many of our patients come in concerned with their "overbite" where they really mean "overjet". We don't often try to correct them on that use of terminology because it isn't really that important, as long as we have the same goals.

The number of days per tray is really a moot point. I can have one patient switch aligners every 7 days and double the trays, or have them switch every 2 weeks and have half the number. Both of them are finishing at the same time. The important thing to look at is how long your overall treatment will be, because the number of aligners or the cycle of changing, unless coupled together, doesn't really mean much. After that you, have to factor in refinements and midcourse corrections that might change the treatment timing.

The amount of time spent with you at your consultation visit is also unfortunately not always a good indicator of how much time you'll get during your treatment. There are many offices where the doctors spend a lot of time at this visit like a "first date". Depending on the office, you can imagine that even 15 minutes of their time at each visit is going to be far too long for them to be able to go over things with you at a regular visit.

Depending on the training of the staff, your experience might actually be better if the doctor is not doing everything. While I'm highly skilled with Invisalign, my strength is in planning the treatment. I have not placed attachments on teeth for many years and these tasks are certainly delegated to my clinical team members.

Good luck in your decision!
Dr. Jason Tam
Toronto Invisalign, Scarborough braces, and Markham Orthodontist
Diamond Plus Invisalign Provider
Thrice Published in the Invisalign Case Gallery

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