How to Choose an Orthodontist

Choosing an orthodontic practice to trust with the beauty of your smile or your child's smile is an important decision. Orthodontic treatment takes time, so you'll want to make sure you or your child are comfortable with the doctor and staff. Your orthodontic experience is something you'll remember for the rest of your life, so make sure it's something to smile about. Ask someone you trust for a recommendation.

Selecting an orthodontist may seem like a daunting task for someone who has never been through it, so it's a great idea to ask for a recommendation from someone who has. Whether it's a friend, co-worker, or family member, they'll probably be more than happy to share their first-hand experience. Your general dentist or pedodontist are also great resources to get a recommendation. If their children have had braces, ask which orthodontist they used. Dr. Kawata has treated many local dentists and their families!

Consider education and experience.

Once you have a list of a few orthodontists, do a little research. Find out about their educational background, where they went to school, and what kinds of continuing education or specialty training they've had. An orthodontist is a dentist who has completed two to three additional years of residency at a university after dental school. An orthodontist limits their practice only to straightening teeth and correcting jaw position problems. If your doctor does fillings, teeth cleanings or cosmetic dentistry, they are not an orthodontist; rather, they are a dentist doing orthodontics after taking some seminars. Just as you wouldn't receive open heart surgery from your general practioner or pediatrician, you would want your teeth straightened by an orthodontist that specializes only in strightening teeth and correcting jaw position problems.

Before you set up a consultation with an orthodontist, make sure he or she is a licensed member of the American Association of Orthodontists. Also make sure that they are a board certified "Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics". This ensures that they are up-to-date on the newest and most effective clinical procedures. A board certified orthodontist has completed a rigorous, voluntary examination that determines that they have a mastery of orthodontics and are committed to the highest quality treatment available.

Get a comprehensive consultation.

Orthodontists have different treatment styles, so getting a thorough consultation is a great idea. Some orthodontists may offer specific orthodontic treatment options or products that others may not. It's also important to feel comfortable with your orthodontist. Do they have a pleasant chairside manner? Do you feel like they're really paying attention to your concerns? Is the staff friendly and helpful? By having a comprehensive evaluation and records, you're more likely to find an orthodontist who can meet your individual needs.

Ask questions.

During your consultation, don't be afraid to ask questions. After all, that's why you're there! It's important for you to understand what type of orthodontic issues you have and the most effective ways to treat them. The more informed you are about your own dental health, the better decisions you will be able to make.

A few important things to consider:

  • Are you being treated by an orthodontist, not a general dentist or other dental specialist?
  • Who will be overseeing your treatment: the orthodontist or assistants?
  • Is the treatment fee all inclusive? Be sure to check for hidden costs for records, rechecks, retainers, and more.
  • Is the office located near your home or work to make appointments as convenient as possible?
  • Do they offer extended office hours before or after work and school?
  • What types of insurance does the office work with and what kind of financing do they offer?
  • Do the orthodontist and staff seem interested in making your experience personalized or do you feel like "just a number?"

"I highly recommend this office to anyone who is searching for orthodontic treatment. They treat all ages, I couldn't see myself or my family going anywhere else." — Andrea C.

"Dr. Kawata has been a part of my family for two generations! I was blessed to be his patient as a teenager and now my children are blessed to be his patients. I know that we are getting the best care available." — S.E.

"My experiences with Dr. Kawata’s office have been overwhelmingly positive. From the friendly and helpful staff to the wonderful orthodontic care." — Diana R.

"Dr. Kawata’s practice makes you truly feel like part of a family!"
— Angie A.

"My experience has been great! Everyone in the office is very nice, kind, and caring." — Maria O.

"I had a really great experience here over the past few years. Everyone in the office is so welcoming and friendly. I wouldn’t have wanted to get my braces anywhere else." — Cassie F.

"All four of our kids have had their orthodontic work through Dr. Kawata. In all the years we’ve been coming, his office has consistently been a pleasure to come to and I am happy to recommend his services to all my friends." — Cindy B.