In order to practice as an orthodontist, a dentist must graduate from dental school and then go on to receive two to three additional years of education and training in orthodontics. This means that all orthodontists meet this basic criteria to provide care for patients. Finding a qualified orthodontist near you for specific needs or procedures can involve a little more research, though. Here’s what you should look for when searching for an orthodontist.
Relevant Training and Experience
Although most people immediately think of braces when they hear the word orthodontics, this dental specialty encompasses a number of other treatments as well. Airway orthodontics repositions the teeth and jaw to improve breathing; surgical orthodontics involves working in conjunction with an oral surgeon to move teeth before and after jaw surgery. Some orthodontists have extensive experience in providing lingual braces, while others may focus only on traditional braces and aligner therapy.
In other words, within the specialization of orthodontics, there are a number of sub-specialties. When choosing an orthodontist, find someone whose knowledge and experience matches your needs. For example, Dr. Cos has advanced training in the treatment of complex craniofacial anomalies. This means he is well-qualified to provide care for patients with complex needs.
Professional memberships to dental and orthodontic associations matter. They’re not just something to add to a curriculum vitae—these organizations provide ongoing training, continuing education, professional resources, and allow doctors the chance to network with and learn from each other. They are essential when it comes to staying up-to-date on the latest technologies and best practices.
Dr. Cos is a member of the American Dental Association, the American Association of Orthodontists, the Northeast Society of Orthodontists, the Connecticut State Dental Society, the American Cleft Palate Craniofacial Association, and the Academy of Laser Dentistry.
Awards and Honors
The awards and honors given to an orthodontist reflect their commitment to the field and to their patients. Dr. Cos’s achievements include:
- Chief resident at Washington Hospital Center and Children’s National Medical Center while completing his orthodontic specialty training
- Induction into the prestigious Omicron Kappa Upsilon National Dental Honor Society
- Awards in excellence in orthodontics, restorative dentistry, dental administration, and community service
Ensuring that an orthodontist uses the latest technology is important, as these technologies often improve patient outcomes and make getting orthodontic treatment a more comfortable experience. At Greater Hartford Orthodontics, we use digital x-ray technology, iTero Element digital impressions, electronic medical records, and digital intraoral cameras. We also offer advanced treatment options like H4 self-ligating braces and Invisalign.
Before and After Photos
Finally, take some time to evaluate patient before and after photos on an orthodontist’s website to make sure your idea of a beautiful smile matches theirs. If you have a specific orthodontic concern, you may wish to ask a prospective orthodontist for before and after photos from patients with the same condition you have so you might know what to expect from your treatment.