Willow Bend Orthodontics

Personal attention and exceptional smiles for adults and children (with a woman's touch!)

Dr. Tamara L. Jones 5400 W. Plano Parkway, Suite 250, Plano, TX 75093 (972) 732-1400

How to Choose an Orthodontist

woman with straw hat

Choosing an orthodontic practice to trust with the beauty of your smile or your child's smile is an important decision. Orthodontic treatment has the potential to be a long process, 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 is also a great resource to get a recommendation. If their children have had braces, ask which orthodontist they used.

Why choosing a BOARD CERTIFIED orthodontist is important for your or your child's treatment:

By choosing an orthodontist who is board-certified or a "diplomate" of the American Board or Orthodontics you will be choosing a doctor that has gone "above and beyond."  Board certification is a voluntary process and less than 33% of orthodontists complete the process.  To become board certified a doctor must attend 4 years of college, 4 years of dental school, and 2-3 years of orthodontic residency. They must then pass a grueling written exam covering a variety of topics with a reading list to study of several thousand pages.  After passing the exam, the most difficult part is the oral exam.  For the oral exam, the orthodontist must submit cases that fulfill certain difficulty criteria.  The cases include full starting and final records, and the orthodontist must defend the chosen treatment plan and results.  The examiners are some of the most highly respected orthodontists in the word and the exam is extremely thorough. Passing of the exam is quite an accomplishment.  Board certification shows a commitment to a higher standard of patient care and treatment results.  The willingness to use free time to study, seek continuing education and submit treated cases for detailed analysis shows a dedication far beyond the norm.  Dr. Jones strives to give each and every patient a "Board Quality" smile.  She judges each case based on the high requirements of the board to ensure that each patient's smile is not only beautiful but a functional smile that will last a lifetime!  Search for Board Certified Orthodontists here.

Consider education and experience.

An orthodontist is a dentist, who after graduating from dental school, completes a 2-3 year full-time university based education in an accredited orthodontic residency program.  By learning about teeth movements (orthodontics) and guidance of facial development (dentofacial orthopedics), orthodontists are the specifically educated experts in dentistry to straighten teeth and align jaws.  Orthodontics is to teeth as a cardiologist is to hearts.  That means that orthodontists focus and limit their practice to orthodontic treatment.  Many dentist can do Invisalign after taking a one day course or braces after a weekend course. They do not have the knowledge or ability to offer you all the treatment options that may be available to you. By using an orthodontist you can be assured that you have selected a doctor with the experience and training to ensure an ideal result.  

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. Ask about the most recent continuing education or advancement they have made in their practice.  Before you set up a consultation with an orthodontist, make sure he or she is a licensed member of the American Association of Orthodontists by searching here. This ensures that they remain up-to-date on the newest and most effective clinical procedures.

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 things to consider:

  • Who will be overseeing your treatment: the orthodontist or assistants?
  • Are the x-rays digital? Digital x-rays reduce radiation exposure over 50%
  • 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?
  • Is the doctor an independent orthodontist or an associate? Orthodontics is a long term commitment and it is common for associates to change during patient's treatment. This may result in a increase in treatment time, an undesirable result, additional costs, and or the need to find another orthodontist to finish treatment. By choosing an independent orthodontist, you can be assured of a consistent result due to continuity of care.  Willow Bend Orthodontics maintains an independent full time orthodontic practice in Plano since 2001.  
  • 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?"
  • Is the doctor an orthodontist or a dentist who does braces and/or Invisalign? 

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