Not everyone will need an orthodontist, but those who do deserve to get the best care possible for their specific needs. Here are five tips for choosing an orthodontist.

1. Speak To Your Dentist

The first thing you should do when you’re considering orthodontic care is to speak to your dentist. It’s highly likely he or she will already have contacts with local orthodontic practices and in that case, you should ask for a referral. He or she will also know best what you or your family member needs in terms of potential orthodontic care. For example, if you’re getting braces to make space for a dental implant, you may need to see a specialist. Your dentist should also give you a checkup before you get your braces applied.

2. Do Your Research

If you don’t receive a referral from your dentist or if you would prefer to seek alternative options, you can start with a simple internet search, such as the best orthodontist near me. Search engines will provide results in your local area and you can then filter them according to your specifications. You can seek orthodontists with practices as close to your home as possible, search for specific expertise or keep an eye out for high or low ratings. Check the insurance coverage local orthodontists accept, too.

3. Check Your Coverage

Coverage for orthodontic care can vary widely. You should be able to check your dental insurance plan to see if orthodontic benefits are included. If they are, contact your insurance provider and check the details of your coverage. Some plans will only cover you and not your dependents. Others may only cover a certain percentage of your orthodontic treatment or will cap coverage at certain amounts. You should also check whether your orthodontic care coverage will depend on whether the orthodontist is considered in-network or out-of-network. In some cases, no orthodontic benefits will be offered, in which case you’ll need to decide how to pay for your orthodontic treatment.

4. Go To a Consultation

Most orthodontists will offer initial consultations or assessments, and in many cases, these consultations are free of charge. However, you should check whether the practice charges a fee and if so, how high the fee is before you make an appointment. If the practice charges a high fee and turns out not to be a good fit, that’s a waste of money for you. You should be able to go to a consultation without feeling pressured or required to see that particular orthodontist for your treatment. Before you go, review the practice’s website and any reviews or testimonials former or current patients have posted. Once you’re there, pay attention to the atmosphere of the office and the demeanor of the staff and your potential orthodontist. Compare what you notice to the reviews and assess your feelings on the practice. Would you feel comfortable being treated there? Does the staff seem friendly and professional?

5. Ask Questions

When you’re talking to your dentist about your options, contacting your insurance provider, making a consultation appointment and meeting with your potential orthodontist, ask as many questions as you can. Orthodontics is an expensive and long-lasting type of treatment, so you want to make sure you get the best care possible for your specific needs. Make sure you ask about your orthodontist’s experience with similar situations to yours and what your treatment plan will look like. Make sure you understand your coverage and payment options. Learn how to work with your orthodontist and the steps you need to take to get the best care possible.

Ultimately, choosing an orthodontist is a multifactor process. You need to understand your needs, the location of the orthodontist’s office and the orthodontist’s area of expertise, among other things before making your decision.