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How do I choose an orthodontist? — The big dilemma (and perhaps the most important one)

This entry is devoted to many patients who come to ask for a second opinion or for whom we evaluate the work done to date.

In many cases, patients come to our office to ask for a second opinion before starting orthodontic treatment, to review their treatment done by others because it has been in progress for 3 years and does not seem to be finishing soon, when the orthodontist left the clinic, when they are uncertain what is going on in their mouths or for many other reasons.

Orthodontia is among the branches of dentistry capable of doing the most damage. Orthodontia is a long process, and each orthodontist has a particular way of working, planning treatment and finishing cases. Clearly, the key factor for the success of orthodontic treatment is THE ORTHODONTIST.

Criteria for choosing an orthodontist:

  1. Avoid mega-clinics, franchises, chains, mutual companies, etc.(These tend to be the “McDonald’s of orthodontia”.) Quality orthodontists tend not to work at these places, for several reasons. (I am going to generalise. Not all are like this, but most are.)
  • This type of clinic is a corporate business model, and is less concerned about patient health and more concerned about potential profits.
  • When purchasing equipment, they tend to take its price and not its quality into account, in order to do everything more cheaply. Furthermore, the person who makes the purchases is a purchasing manager who is not familiar with orthodontia, rather than the orthodontist, who is very familiar with the equipment. Good equipment in orthodontia is expensive, but it’s worth using because significant differences are seen when treatment is finished.
  • This type of clinic cuts costs for the patient at the expense of the equipment. This means that they have to base their business on patient volume, that is to say, seeing many patients in less time. As a result, the orthodontist does not have time to dedicate to theDETAILS of treatment and will think twice before replacing a bracket if it needs to be replaced, because he or she already has 4 people waiting in the waiting room.
  • Finally, orthodontists who work at this type of clinic do not see it as lifelong work, and leave the clinic if they find something better. At the next visit, the patient will find another orthodontist, who will have to catch up on what is going on with this patient’s treatment and that of many others. This is a waste of time, and treatment may even end up yielding poor results.
  1. Choose an orthodontist who has completed a master’s degree of three years and a half at a university. In Spain, there is little regulation, and any dentist can do a weekend course and claim to be an orthodontist. A master’s degree at a university takes three years and a half to complete, and graduates are well prepared to start treating patients. The master’s degree is NOT a guarantee, but the risk of damage due to improper treatment decreases a great deal.
  2. At the first visit,ask the orthodontist to show you photos of treated cases — not one or two, but several treatments with good-quality photos — and to explain the treatment he or she is considering to you in YOUR language.
  3. Categorically avoid those who defend a technique or only use one technique. A good orthodontist knows how to use many different techniques and how to bring together the best of each. Not all patients are the same, and so one technique will be best for one patient and another technique will be best for another patient.
  4. At the first visit, the orthodontist has to inform you of your problem, explain the solution for this problem and recommend one technique or another, but you will ALWAYS choose what you suits you best. Avoid the orthodontist who tries to “sell” a technique at the first visit. More and more systems and techniques are coming out that may be “fashionable” but are not always the best.
  5. The most expensive is not always the best, but the cheapest is very suspicious. I advisechoosing a price slightly above the market average. This tends to be a more realistic price that is neither very expensive nor very cheap. DO NOT FUND TREATMENTS WITH BANKS. Orthodontia is a long process, and you are responsible for dividing up the price and preparing a payment plan without having to resort to banks. In Spain there have been many scams like this.
  6. Finally, I recommend asking for a second opinion if anything is unclear to you, or your intuition tells you to investigate further.

I hope that with this little guide you can avoid damage caused by other professionals.

Para más información consúltanos llamando al teléfono 93 832 72 81.

By |2018-10-23T09:02:14+00:0019-06-2012|Blog, Orthodontics advice|

About the Author:

Soy odontólogo y máster en ortodoncia por la UB. Voy más allá de una sonrisa estética, me apasiona el buen funcionamiento y armonía de todo el sistema masticatorio hasta el último detalle y trabajo cada día por conseguir la excelencia en mis tratamientos, en constante formación, innovando en técnicas y siempre rodeado de un gran equipo de personas, que al igual que yo, tiene claro que en Ortodoncia Friedländer tratamos personas, no solo dientes.

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