A successful orthodontic treatment experience isn’t just about receiving professional and gentle care. You also need to trust that your doctor and the orthodontic team have your best interests in mind and at heart. At Decatur Orthodontics, we treat our patients like we would treat our own families. That means our supportive and caring team works passionately with you to reach your smile goals.
We prioritize patient education here because you should always know what’s going on with your treatment. So, we know you deserve an experienced orthodontist that helps you feel empowered from your first appointment to your most recent.
But what else should you be asking? To help you begin your orthodontic journey, we’ve put together this list of questions to ask before committing to an orthodontic practice for treatment.
Is the doctor a trained orthodontic specialist?
You would think this is a no-brainer for your decision-making, but you might also be surprised to find out that just because your dentist offers orthodontic treatment that doesn’t mean they are specially trained in orthodontics. Many general dentists also provide braces treatment and clear aligner therapy in addition to standard dental services such as cleanings, fillings, crowns, and dentures. While an orthodontist, on the other hand, specializes only in providing orthodontic services.
After a dentist has completed their undergraduate medical education, they must attend a graduate school specifically for dentistry and pass a certification exam before beginning their general dentistry work. The same goes for orthodontists, except they must attend an extremely competitive orthodontic residency program after their general dentistry certification. These programs typically last another 2 to 3 years and include full-time training meaning the orthodontist has:
- Studied the growth and maturation of teeth and jaw
- Been introduced to numerous case studies
- Developed diagnostic skills
- Learned biomechanical techniques to properly move teeth
- Studied how to change the development of the dental alveolar complex and facial growth of younger patients
While there are some exceptions, most dentists simply will not possess this level of in-depth orthodontic training and experience. If you are looking for foundational oral health maintenance, trust your dentist. But, if you need specialized orthodontic care, you can trust that Dr. Oral C. Francis is a board-certified orthodontist and has proven himself by achieving the highest level of intensive experience. You want an expert orthodontist like Dr. Francis to create your new smile–not aligners you order through the mail.
At Decatur Orthodontics, the relationship between the patient and doctor is truly a partnership in striving for a common goal: to achieve and maintain a beautiful, healthy smile that will last a lifetime!
What treatment options does the orthodontist offer?
Most patients we treat opt for traditional metal braces to straighten their teeth, and while this is the most common option, you have several other options available to reach your smile goals quickly and effectively. By pairing state-of-the-art technology with our thorough understanding of the movement during facial growth, Dr. Francis at Decatur Orthodontics can successfully treat many dental issues based on your unique needs and goals using metal braces, LightForce custom 3D printed clear braces, Invisalign and Invisalign Teen, as well as Brius Lingual braces.
Traditional metal braces are the most widely used type of fixed orthodontic appliance. Though past incarnations have been bulky, awkward, and painful, today’s metal braces are smaller, lighter, and more comfortable. Our advanced braces are made for efficient tooth movement and optimal patient comfort. No two people are alike, and our variety of colored ties allows you to truly individualize your orthodontic experience and match your style.
Clear braces use the same components as traditional metal braces, but instead of metal brackets, we utilize LightForce 3D printed ceramic brackets that are custom to each patient. This level of customization makes your treatment more comfortable and can cut down on the time it takes to get to your goal. LightForce custom brackets make clear braces a common choice for teenagers and older patients who do not like the aesthetic of the metal look.
Unlike traditional braces, orthodontic treatment with Invisalign doesn’t rely on a system of metal or ceramic brackets and wires. Instead, Invisalign uses 3-D computer technology to create a custom-fit series of invisible, removable acrylic trays that straighten your teeth by applying steady pressure on your teeth as you wear them. They are replaced every 1 to 2 weeks to make this adjustment gradually. Though you can remove them to eat and brush your teeth, you will need to wear them about 22 hours a day for them to be effective.
At Decatur Orthodontics, we also are excited to offer Invisalign Teen. This option works the same as standard Invisalign, but the trays have a small dot on the back to indicate adequate wear to help your teen stay accountable for their treatment. And, since we all know how forgetful and rough teens can be, this option also provides a greater number of trays to cover those inconveniences.
Lingual braces are commonly called hidden braces since they are placed on the back, or tongue side, of your teeth. Placing the appliance on the back of the teeth provides the discretion many patients desire without the task of remembering to wear clear aligners or taking them out at the dinner table.
We use Brius lingual braces here at Decatur Orthodontics because this revolutionary method moves teeth independently and simultaneously. This precise system leads to an aesthetically pleasing process with the efficiency to shorten your overall treatment time.
How frequent are follow-up appointments with the orthodontist?
While your exact follow-up timing will vary depending on the orthodontic treatment plan you and our expert team determine is right for you, we will schedule most patients’ adjustment appointments for about every six to ten weeks. Patients using Invisalign may be seen slightly less frequently, but regardless, these appointments are crucial for your overall orthodontic process!
The average process will take anywhere from 8 to 36 months to achieve your perfect smile, but visible results are evident as early as the first few months with most treatment plans. We know you’re busy, and we value your time, just give us a heads up if you’re running late or need to reschedule, but don’t forget that your participation in the follow-up care is just as meaningful.
Trust your smile to the experts at Decatur Orthodontics
Decatur Orthodontics is your location for modern orthodontic treatment. Dr. Francis and his friendly team take pride in staying up-to-date on the latest in orthodontic treatment and braces technology. Our office is conveniently located in Decatur, GA, ensuring you get high-quality orthodontic care that is just minutes from your home, school, or work to fit your schedule.
There’s never been a better time to reach for the smile you’ve always wanted, so get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with our expert orthodontic team! You’ll enjoy a comfortable and speedy smile journey because we invest in the latest treatments and technologies available to create the smile you expect and deserve.