Updated: Nov 3, 2020
All orthodontic care is equal, right?
There was a time, not so long ago when purchase decisions were based on quality. There was a good, better and best. Naturally, getting “the best” was more valuable and so commanded a higher price.
Today, we are bombarded with discount frenzy both online and in stores, where the lowest price drives purchasing decisions. Well, this “model” may make sense when it comes to a choice of buying two items that are pretty much the same, like toaster ovens or garden hoses. Buying the least expensive of the two is usually pretty reasonable. Such items that are interchangeable and have what appears to be equal value are called commodities.
Is price shopping for orthodontics a good idea? If braces were nothing more than a bunch of metal brackets and wires stuck on teeth than it would make sense to choose the lowest cost option because orthodontic treatment/braces would be a commodity. As you will see, when orthodontic care is treated like a commodity patients ultimately pay the price. And, WHERE YOU GET YOUR BRACES, MAKES A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE. When it comes to braces, you have the opportunity to make a healthy choice.
If all orthodontists go through the same educational process than isn’t it reasonable to assume that all orthodontists have the same skill sets? To begin with, not all orthodontic residency programs provide the same education or training. Some programs do a much better job of training their residents than others. Furthermore, not all doctors have the same standards or results. There are differences! The reality is that braces are so much more than just brackets and wires. Orthodontic care is not a commodity.
Part 1: Tips and FAQs for Receiving Exceptional Orthodontic Care (Orthodontic Basics 101) For starters, choose an orthodontist. Orthodontists are dental specialists who have 2-3 years of post-dental school education that focuses on smile esthetics, growth and development, and jaw function. They have extensive training and practice in the science of tooth movement, straightening teeth, and improving bites. This is in contrast to a general dentist who may occasionally provide orthodontic care, with limited training. This is the case for both Braces and Invisalign as well. Buyer beware!
Choose an Orthodontist certified by the American Board of Orthodontics. Board certification for orthodontists is a rigorous voluntary examination process driven by the pursuit of continued proficiency and excellence. Only 30% of orthodontists in the United States have achieved this elite status. Search for a qualified orthodontist on the ABO website www.americanboardortho.com.
The fact that the orthodontist is “nice” and “friendly” should be a basic starting point for consideration…but this is not a substitute for skill, depth of knowledge and excellence in care.