Here at Kottemann Orthodontics, we believe that educated patients make the best partners in any orthodontic journey! It’s our goal to help you feel empowered and informed from your first appointment to the last. We know choosing to improve your oral health with orthodontic treatment is a big decision, and your smile is too important to trust to anything less than an experienced orthodontist. But what if you’re not sure where to start? 

To help you begin your orthodontic journey, we’ve put together this list of important questions to ask in order to make an informed decision on your care. Keep reading below for a more detailed look at what you should know before committing to an orthodontic practice for treatment!

Is the doctor a trained orthodontic specialist?

As obvious as it seems, this is probably the most important question you can ask when exploring braces treatment or clear aligner therapy. That’s because some general 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 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 essentially dentists who also have several years of additional specialized training and experience. This 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

Orthodontic residency programs are extremely competitive, accepting only the top students in any dental school graduating class. These orthodontic programs tend to last around 2-3 years, and include full-time training that focuses on correcting orthodontic issues with braces and aligners. While there are exceptions to every rule, most dentists will not possess this same level of exhaustive orthodontic training and experience.

For more than 60 years (and 3 generations!) the Kottemann family has been providing the highest quality orthodontic care to patient in Plymouth, Minneapolis, Maple Grove, Watertown, Chaska, Orono, and the surrounding areas. We have four highly trained orthodontists whose only focus is orthodontic care and treatment. Our talented team performs teeth straightening procedures daily, and our entire team keeps up to date on the latest in industry practice by regularly attending continuing education courses. We have everything you need for a positive and stress-free orthodontic experience!

What treatment options does the orthodontist offer?

Kottemann Orthodontics has a wide variety of orthodontic treatments available to patients of all ages, including traditional metal braces and clear aligner therapy.

3 Questions To Ask When Choosing An Orthodontist

Traditional Metal Braces

Traditional metal braces are the most common type of braces and are more comfortable today than ever before. Made of high-grade stainless steel, metal braces straighten your teeth using metal brackets and archwires. With metal braces, you have the option of adding colored elastics (rubber bands) for a more unique and colorful smile.

Self-Ligating Braces

Self-ligating braces are made from the same materials as traditional braces. However, self-ligating braces do not require the use of elastics, meaning fewer appointments and less friction being placed on the tooth. Self-ligating braces come with traditional metal, ceramic, or clear brackets. They are the same size as metal braces, but use a specialized clip in place of elastics to help the archwire guide teeth into place. The clip helps reduce the amount of pressure being placed on the tooth, and requires fewer adjustments because there are no elastics to replace.

Clear Braces

Sometimes called ceramic braces, this option works like metal braces but is made of clear materials and therefore a more subtle option. For this reason, ceramic braces are used mainly on older teenagers and adult patients who have cosmetic concerns. While they are visually less prominent, they do require more attention to oral hygiene as ceramic braces are larger and are more brittle than their metal counterparts. For these reasons, ceramic braces tend to be used more on upper front teeth than on lower teeth.

Clear aligners

Clear aligners are a series of invisible, removable, and comfortable acrylic trays that straighten your teeth like braces. Not only are the aligners invisible, they are removable, so you can eat and drink what you want while in treatment, plus brushing and flossing are less of a hassle. The aligners are comfortable and have no metal to cause mouth abrasions during treatment.

How frequent are follow-up visits with the orthodontist?

Whatever treatment option you choose, you can expect relatively frequent visits to your orthodontist. For most patients, adjustment appointments will be scheduled for every 4-8 weeks or so in the office location most convenient for you. During these visits, our doctors will replace any worn-out rubber bands, check the progress your teeth are making, and make adjustments to the wires to ensure the teeth are being pulled in the right direction. 

Patients in clear aligners may be seen slightly less frequently, but these appointments are still an essential part of the orthodontic process!

While treatment time will always vary from case to case, the average patient will spend anywhere from 12-36 months years in treatment. You should be prepared to see us regularly! We know families these days are busy, and we value your time, so we never overbook patients and always aim to see you at your scheduled time.

3 Questions To Ask When Choosing An Orthodontist

Trust your smile to the experts at Kottemann Orthodontics

Are you looking for an optimal orthodontic experience? Kottemann Orthodontics is unmatched in skill, expertise, and the level of care every patient receives! Since our sole specialty is orthodontics, you’ll receive nothing but the best in treatments, cost, and efficiency as we work to straighten your smile.

If you’re ready to take the first step in your orthodontic journey, we would love to meet you and talk more about the smile you want! There’s never been a better time to go after the smile you’ve always wanted, so get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation!