3 Questions To Ask When Choosing An Orthodontist

Choosing to improve your oral health and straighten your smile with orthodontic treatment is a big decision! You know you don’t want to trust your teeth to anything less than an experienced orthodontic practice, but you may not know where to start. 

Here at Lincoln Orthodontics, we want you to feel empowered and educated on every step of your orthodontic journey. That’s why we’ve put together this list of important questions to ask an orthodontist to make an informed decision about your care. Keep reading below for a more detailed look at what you should know before committing to treatment!

Am I Seeing a Qualified, Experienced, Board-Certified Orthodontist?

Since your teeth are such an important part of your day to day life, you want to be confident that you’re getting the best possible orthodontic care when you need it. 

Because orthodontic residency programs are extremely competitive, only the top students in any dental school graduating class are accepted. These orthodontic programs tend to last around 2-3 years, with full-time training that focuses on correcting orthodontic issues with braces and aligners. This means that orthodontists have extensive experience, but only 10% of all orthodontists have achieved the level Dr. Willett has as a Board-Certified Orthodontist. 

Dr. Willett attended South Dakota State University and earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology. She then earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Dentistry in Lincoln. She graduated at the top of her dental class and was recognized for her clinical excellence and her patient-centered care.

She went on to complete a specialty Certificate of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics from the UNMC College of Dentistry while also earning her Master’s of Science degree in Oral Biology.

She’s a diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics, a distinction only 10% of orthodontists achieve.

  • American Association of Orthodontists
  • American Dental Association
  • Lincoln District Dental Association
  • Midwestern Society of Orthodontists
  • Omicron Kappa Upsilon honorary dental society, from whom she earned the William S. Kramer Award of Excellence

To become a diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics, Dr. Willett had to undergo an intense exam process, made up of a written exam and a clinic exam. Both exams are evaluated by a group of experienced orthodontics. Additionally, to maintain board-certification, orthodontists must be reexamined every 10 years to make sure they are still providing exceptional care and staying up to date on advancements in the field. 

Here at Lincoln Orthodontics, our only focus is on your orthodontic care and treatment.

Dr. Willett performs teeth straightening procedures daily. Our entire team keeps up to date on the latest industry practice by regularly attending continuing education courses. Dr. Willett has also equipped our Lincoln office with the most current orthodontic and imaging equipment and technology to better serve our patients. She’s committed to providing you with the best high-quality, individualized orthodontic care!

3 Questions To Ask When Choosing An Orthodontist

What treatment options do you have available? Will I have choices?

Dr. Willett is proud to offer a wide variety of orthodontic treatments to patients of all ages, including traditional metal braces and clear aligner therapy with Invisalign. We pride ourselves on making your understanding of your treatment needs and options a priority. It is our focus to thoroughly explain the processes and choices so you can make the best choice for your smile. 

Metal braces

Traditional metal braces are still the most popular orthodontic appliance, and have come a long way in recent years! They’re usually made of a mix of high-grade stainless steel, nickel, and other durable metals. Bands wrap around the back molars, and smaller metal brackets are cemented to the front surfaces of the other teeth. There’s also a thin, springy metal wire that runs through the brackets, which may be attached to the brackets by flexible elastics, metal ties, or another type of clasp. All of these components come together to gently guide your teeth into the desired positions over time.

Metal braces are a reliable, effective, and budget-friendly option. They’re also more comfortable and customizable than ever before. With smaller, lighter brackets and a multitude of colored bands to choose from, metal braces are a perfect fit for every personality!

Invisalign

The Invisalign system is made up of a series of customized aligners that are nearly invisible and completely removable. Unlike traditional braces, no brackets and wires are required to move your teeth! This offers you freedom and flexibility that traditional braces just can’t beat. Designed to fit snugly but comfortably over your own teeth, Invisalign provides a more subtle and comfortable orthodontic experience. These aligners will gradually move your teeth into the desired positions then you wear them the recommended 20-22 hours per day, and change them out weekly for the next in the set. 

Invisalign Teen

Although Invisalign and Invisalign Teen work the same way when it comes to the underlying technology, Invisalign Teen was developed with the unique needs of teen patients in mind. There are a few special features that are specific to the Invisalign Teen system, including the following:

Compliance indicators

To help teens stick to their treatment plan, Invisalign Teen has a compliance indicator incorporated into each aligner. This will fade from blue to clear as you use it, providing a visual approximation of wear. This lets patients, parents, and orthodontists keep track of patient use. If a teen is skipping out on hours, it will be noticeable in enough time for us to correct compliance. That way we can keep the overall process moving along at the right pace.

Eruption tabs

This feature accommodates the growth of the second molars in young adults, helping to keep space open for unerupted teeth and making it possible to treat a wider range of conditions with Invisalign.

Replacement aligners

We all lose or damage things from time to time. While we encourage all of our Invisalign patients to be careful with their aligners, teens don’t need to worry about misplacing or losing one. Invisalign Teen was designed with this in mind, and provides up to six replacement aligners at no charge, just in case!

Ultimately, you and your family have the opportunity to choose what best fits your needs. 

3 Questions To Ask When Choosing An Orthodontist

How frequent are follow-up visits in the office, and what can I expect while I’m there?

We strive to make sure every patient and every member of your family is comfortable and welcomed by our team. You’ll be seeing a lot of us, and we want it to be a great experience for everyone! We understand that the orthodontic process can be scary at first, but we hope to put you at ease. 

For patients in braces, adjustment appointments will be scheduled approximately every 6 weeks. During these visits, Dr. Willett will replace any worn-out rubber bands, check your teeth’s progress, and make adjustments to the wires to ensure the teeth are being pulled in the right direction. Invisalign patients may be seen slightly less frequently, approximately every 10 weeks, but these appointments are still an essential part of the orthodontic process. We’ll evaluate your progress, provide additional instructions or change the elastics pattern as we work towards our goals.

We know how busy our families are, and your time is valuable to us. That’s why we never overbook patients and always aim to see you at your scheduled time! Although treatment time varies from case to case, the average patient will spend anywhere from 1-3 years in braces or aligners. Be prepared to see us regularly!