What To Ask Before Choosing An Orthodontist

These days, it’s easy to research just about anything, but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier to make a decision! There’s so much information available online that it can sometimes be overwhelming to try and sort it all out to get what you need. This can be frustrating enough when you’re looking for something like a new vacuum cleaner or coffee pot, let alone something as important as an orthodontic provider!

Choosing to improve your smile with braces or aligners is a big decision and one you don’t want to take lightly. The first step in any orthodontic journey is choosing an experienced orthodontist, but with so many to choose from, you may not be sure where to start. If you know the right questions to ask in your search for an orthodontist, you’ll be able to make a well-informed decision on who you trust with your smile. Cowan Orthodontics is here to help! Keep reading below for the most important questions to ask when choosing an orthodontist. 

“Are you a trained orthodontic specialist?”

You might be surprised to see this listed, but it’s actually one of the most important things to know when looking for an orthodontic provider. That’s because some dentists have begun offering orthodontic treatment in addition to their traditional services, with options like clear aligners becoming increasingly popular with some dental offices. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with dentists branching out in this way, it’s worth noting that most lack the extra years of education and training that orthodontists have. These practices will also be dividing their focus between dental services and any orthodontics they offer. 

In contrast, an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Cowan has spent many years learning how to successfully move the teeth using braces, aligners, and other orthodontic appliances. After completing dental school, dentists can open for business but orthodontists will go on to complete extra classes, training, and a residency program. During this time, they are taught the biomechanical techniques involved in properly moving teeth. They also study facial growth and development, develop a specific set of diagnostic skills, and treat patients under the supervision of their orthodontic faculty before setting out on their own.  

Take Dr. Cowan, for example—after graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1982 from the University of Alabama, he went on to attend the University of Alabama School of Dentistry and earned his D.M.D. degree with honors. He then gained a Master of Science degree in Orthodontics from the University of North Carolina before opening his practice in Tuscaloosa. As you can see, there’s a lot of time, effort, education, and training that goes into becoming an orthodontist! 

As a trained orthodontic specialist, Dr. Cowan has only one focus: creating smiles that are functional, healthy, and beautiful. For patients who are feeling nervous about taking the first step towards improved oral health, this targeted approach to personalized orthodontic care can offer extra reassurance and peace of mind.

What To Ask Before Choosing An Orthodontist

“What treatment options are available to me?”

Not so long ago, the only option for straightening crooked teeth was traditional metal braces. Fortunately, modern orthodontic technology has made it easier than ever to get a healthier, happier smile! Our practice is proud to offer the following treatment options to patients of all ages in Tuscaloosa and the surrounding communities.

Traditional metal braces

Traditional metal braces are an orthodontic staple and understandably so! Braces are one of our most efficient treatments, particularly for more severe or complicated cases. Modern braces use high-quality stainless steel, but innovations in the design have made them much more comfortable than previous versions. The total treatment time also tends to be shorter than it used to be.

Ceramic braces

These function in much the same way traditional braces do but use ceramic brackets rather than metal ones. The brackets can be clear, white, or tooth-colored, and for an even more subtle treatment option, can be used with elastics or ties that are also clear, white, or tooth-colored. Ceramic braces can be a great choice for patients who want a less-noticeable way to straighten their smile. However, because they are more delicate than metal braces, we generally only recommend them for older teens and adults.

Invisalign clear aligner therapy

Instead of brackets and bands, the Invisalign system uses a series of clear, customized, removable aligners. These are custom-designed to fit snugly over the teeth, and gently move them into the desired positions over time. Aligners are made of a soft but strong thermoplastic resin and are replaced with the next aligner in the series every 1-2 weeks to keep up with the gradual shifting teeth. 

“Do you offer a free consultation?”

Many orthodontic practices offer a free smile assessment before recommending any type of treatment. Cowan Orthodontics provides all potential patients with a complimentary consultation! During this initial visit, you’ll be introduced to some of our talented team, given a brief tour of the office, and asked a few questions about your medical and dental history. We’ll then take several digital photographs of your teeth so we can get a better idea of what’s happening beneath the surface of your smile. Following this, Dr. Cowan will go over the available treatment options for you based on your specific needs.

What To Ask Before Choosing An Orthodontist

Trust the experts at Cowan Orthodontics

You only get one smile, and it’s too important to not trust anything less than an expert! When you choose Cowan Orthodontics, you’ll be putting your smile into the best hands around. We offer patients a highly-qualified orthodontist, experienced support staff, and a welcoming environment with the latest technology. It’s our goal to provide an orthodontic experience that’s pleasant and stress-free from start to finish. Would you like to learn more about how orthodontics can give you a confident smile? Get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Cowan!

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