Find the Right Orthodontist in 5 Steps

Looking for a Great Orthodontist?
Follow the Five R’s Rule to Get it Right.

A mature dentist crossing his arms as his assistant and patient converse in the background


Word-of-mouth is important; speak with your neighbors and friends. Someone you trust. Get a referral from a satisfied patient who’s happy with their orthodontist. A person who puts their reputation on the line by making a recommendation is a credible referral. That person has nothing to gain but your appreciation by helping. If you’ve been referred to multiple orthodontists, visit their websites (if they have them) to learn a little about orthodontics beforehand.


This is an obvious way to go about picking an orthodontist. Take the time to do a little research on your own to verify that this is the orthodontist of choice for you and your family. Choose an orthodontist that is close to work or home and is more convenient for you. Check office hours to be sure you can make appointments and be able to work with them when planning your treatment. Be sure that the orthodontist can work with your current health insurance and plan. Are languages other than English required for communication? This is the stage to narrow down your search results.


Credible testimonials are another source to consider when selecting an orthodontist. Patient testimonials help alleviate concerns for potential patients who may be nervous or anxious. Testimonials tell you all kinds of valuable information. They may affirm an orthodontist is okay or that the orthodontist is good, honest individual. Other reviews may criticize the orthodontist and allay that the orthodontist is dishonest and incompetent. All of these reviews come from each patient’s personal, subjective experience.   They’re a valuable tool that may sell you on the orthodontist or cause the poorly reviewed to lose a prospective patient. You.


How long has the orthodontist been in practice? This is always smart to consider. Look at the credentials and backgrounds when choosing a physician: clinical training, experience, board certification and specialized interests should align with the healthcare you’re looking for. You may also decide that the gender and age of the physician are important to you.

Rules (Follow These Do’s & Don’ts)

  • DO write down questions in advance and bring up things that concern you. Always feel free to ask more questions, even if you think they’re dumb questions. You’re not the expert. The orthodontist is. Make sure you understand every facet of the treatment and that you’re comfortable with and reassured by the information they’re giving you.
  • DON’T just go with an orthodontist when they cannot explain why they’re doing what they’re doing to gain the expected result: the correction of irregular teeth. It’s your money and your health and it shouldn’t be wasted on unnecessary treatment just so the orthodontist can make money off of you when the care isn’t at all needed.
  • DO find out the damaging consequences you will face if you do not go ahead with the treatment. The answer must be clear, comprehensive and specific. If the orthodontist cannot prove you need the treatment, don’t go ahead with their recommendation. You should NEED the service. Don’t let the orthodontist convince you to get the service without explaining exactly what health dangers you’ll face if you decline the services.
  • DO get at second opinion. It is important to have good rapport with your orthodontist. Communication is key; and you should feel comfortable and certain that this is a professional you will want to work with for a significant period of your life and you want to make sure that long-term relationship will be a pleasant one.

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