Making the decision to improve your oral health and get a straighter smile with orthodontic treatment is a big step! You don’t want to trust your care to anyone other than an experienced orthodontic practice, but with so much information out there, you may not be sure where to start. We’ve put together a list of 3 questions to ask when choosing an orthodontist to help take some of the guesswork out of your decision!
Here at Mack Orthodontics, we want you to feel empowered and educated from your first orthodontic visit to the last! When you ask the right questions, you’ll be able to make the most informed decision for your care. Keep reading below to take a closer look at what you should know before committing to an orthodontic practice for your treatment!
Are you seeing a trained orthodontic specialist?
This may seem pretty obvious, but this is probably the most important question you can ask when considering treatment with braces or clear aligner therapy! That’s because some dentists are also able to provide orthodontic treatment, even though they don’t specialize in it. A general dentist will typically offer common dental services such as crowns, fillings, dentures, and the occasional orthodontic treatment like Invisalign. An orthodontist, on the other hand, spends their days providing only orthodontic services.
This distinction matters. Imagine for a moment that you or your child required specialized treatment or surgery. Would you feel comfortable with your family physician handling your case or would you prefer a dedicated specialist? Orthodontists are dentists who also have several years of additional specialized training and experience in orthodontics. That means an orthodontist has:
- studied the growth and maturation of the 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
Since orthodontic residency programs are incredibly competitive, only the top students in any dental school’s 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. While there are certainly exceptions to every rule, most dentists will not possess this level of exhaustive orthodontic training and experience.
Dr. Mack earned his Doctor of Pharmacy degree before attending the Harvard School of Dental Medicine where he earned his Doctorate of Dental Medicine. Finally, he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned his Master of Science in Orthodontics. Dr. Mack is passionate about continuing education and providing state-of-the-art treatment to patients in Burlington, Hillborough, and the surrounding communities. He’s also a member of the following organizations:
- American Association of Orthodontists
- American Dental Association
- Georgia Association of Orthodontists
- Georgia Dental Association
- Hinman Dental Society
- Southern Association of Orthodontists
Dr. Jackson graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine before completing her orthodontic residency at the University of North Carolina. Today, she is an adjunct instructor of orthodontics at UNC and was recently awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation for her cutting-edge engineering research on 3D metal printed orthodontic appliances.
Here at Mack Orthodontics, our only focus is orthodontic care and treatment. Dr. Mack and Dr. Jackson perform teeth straightening procedures daily and our entire team stays up to date on the latest in industry techniques and technology by regularly attending continuing education courses. Dr. Mack and Dr. Jackson have also equipped our Burlington and Hillborough offices with the most current orthodontic equipment in order to better serve our patients. Mack Orthodontics is committed to providing you with the best in high-quality, individualized orthodontic care!
What treatment options do you have available?
Mack Orthodontics 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.
Traditional metal braces are still the most common orthodontic appliance and have come a long way in recent years! They are typically 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 is also a thin, springy metal wire that runs through the brackets, which may be fixed 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 economical 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!
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 the teeth! This offers patients a measure of freedom and flexibility that traditional braces just can’t compare to. Designed to fit snugly but comfortably over your own teeth, Invisalign provides a more subtle and comfortable orthodontic experience. When worn the recommended 20-22 hours per day, and changed out weekly with the next in the set, these aligners will gradually move your teeth into the desired positions.
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 unique features that are specific to the Invisalign Teen system, including the following:
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 it is used, 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, thus keeping the overall process moving along according to plan.
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.
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 anticipates it happening, and provides up to six replacement aligners at no charge, just in case!
How frequent are follow-up visits in the office?
Whatever your treatment plan, regular visits with your orthodontist are essential for success. For patients in braces, adjustment appointments will be scheduled every 4-6 weeks or so. During these visits, Dr. Mack or Dr. Jackson will replace any worn-out rubber bands, check your teeth’s progress, and make any necessary adjustments to the wires to ensure the teeth are being pulled in the right direction. Invisalign patients may be seen slightly less frequently, but these appointments are just as important for the orthodontic process.
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! 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!
Expertise you can trust at Mack Orthodontics
For an optimal orthodontic experience, you can’t do better than Mack Orthodontics! You’ll receive a personalized treatment plan and unmatched care from your first appointment to your last. Since their sole specialty is orthodontics, Dr. Mack and Dr. Jackson have the experience and expertise necessary to give you nothing but the best in treatments, cost, and efficiency as you work to straighten your smile.
If you’re ready to get started with your orthodontic journey, our team would love to meet you! When you schedule a FREE consultation with Mack Orthodontics, you’ll receive a thorough examination by Dr. Mack or Dr. Jackson. They’ll go over any diagnosis with you and outline what your next steps should be. This is a no-pressure appointment! Even if you choose not to pursue orthodontic treatment right away, we’ll be glad to answer any questions or address any concerns you might have in order to help you make the most informed decision.
There’s never been a better time to get the smile you’ve always dreamed of so get in touch today to schedule your complimentary consultation!