3 Questions To Ask When Choosing An Orthodontist

We want all of our Central Massachusetts Orthodontic Associates patients to feel informed and empowered about every part of their treatment, from consultation to the day your braces come off. You made a choice to start your orthodontic treatment, and that’s a big decision! As an educated patient, you’ll know that your smile is too important to trust to anything less than an experienced orthodontist. But what if you’re not sure how to find one? We want you to feel like you’re made the right choice, so here are 3 questions to ask when choosing an orthodontist. Of course, there are many more questions you could ask, but these are some of the most important when considering who you trust to provide orthodontic care. 

Let’s take a look at what you should know before committing to an orthodontic practice for treatment!

Is the doctor a trained orthodontic specialist?

While this may seem obvious, this is the most critical question to ask before starting braces or clear aligner treatment with any provider. Did you know that a general dentist can provide these treatments without the additional years of training that specialists receive? 

Dentists generally offer treatments such as dental crowns, fillings, dentures, and occasional orthodontic treatment like Invisalign. However, an orthodontist focuses only on straightening teeth with orthodontic services, just that experience only would make a big difference. But there’s so much more to becoming an orthodontic specialist! 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 only accept the top students from and dental school graduating class. That’s pretty competitive! Most orthodontic programs are 2-3 years long and include full-time training focused on correcting orthodontic issues with braces and clear aligners. Though there are occasional exceptions, most dentists don’t have the same level of exhaustive orthodontic training and experience. 

Dr. Giarrusso and Dr. Livanos are orthodontists with extensive experience treating orthodontic patients. 

Dr. Lisa Giarrusso received her Bachelor of Science from Jackson College of Tufts in Medford. She then moved to the Boston Campus and completed her Doctorate of Dental Medicine and finished her Certificate in Orthodontics two years later. She joined the orthodontic faculty after graduation and has always remained affiliated with Tufts. Dr. Lisa Giarrusso taught from 1992-2008 as an assistant clinical professor of orthodontics. She achieved board-certification when she became a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics in 1999. She has extensive experience treating both children and adults, as well as treating numerous patients who require orthognathic surgery in combination with their orthodontics.

Dr. Gregory Livanos graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Fairleigh Dickenson University in Teaneck, New Jersey. He then received his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. School of Dental Hospital, before completing a general practice residency at St. Clare’s Hospital in Schenectady, NY. Dr. Livanos practiced general dentistry for six years in Saratoga Springs while also maintaining a faculty appointment at St. Clare’s Hospital. He later received his Certificate in Orthodontics at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. As a board-certified orthodontist, he became a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics in 2005.

3 Questions To Ask When Choosing An Orthodontist

What treatment options does the orthodontist offer?

Central Massachusetts Orthodontic Associates has a wide variety of aesthetic treatments available including clear braces and clear aligners.

Metal braces

Metal braces have had a reputation for being awkward and obvious, but because of modern orthodontics, you will benefit from versions that are smaller, less conspicuous, and more comfortable than ever before. Sleeker brackets and lighter wires improve the appearance and feel of these braces. This means you will have less irritation in your mouth. Braces are great at fixing complex tooth issues. They can work faster at closing gaps and aligning teeth than other treatments might. This can potentially shorten your treatment time.

Clear braces

These work the same way as metal braces, but the brackets are made out of clear ceramic material instead of stainless steel. That’s why they’re sometimes called ceramic braces. Because they are less visible than traditional braces, they’re popular with older teens and adult patients who may be more image-conscious. They are larger and more brittle than their metal counterparts, so we tend to use them on the upper front teeth more often than the lower teeth. 

Invisalign Clear Aligners

The Invisalign system is made out of a series of customized, removable aligners to straighten your teeth. Because the aligners are clear and can be removed, patients can eat and drink as they normally would, plus brushing and flossing effectively is easier. The aligners are custom-made to fit snugly but comfortably over the patient’s own teeth. 

How frequent are follow-up visits with the orthodontist?

No matter what treatment you decide on, you’ll come in for frequent visits with your orthodontist. Adjustment appointments are often scheduled every 4-8 weeks. During these visits, Dr. Giarrusso and Dr. Livanos will replace any worn-out rubber bands, check the progress your teeth are making, and make adjustments to the wires to make sure your teeth are moving 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, so you don’t want to miss them. 

While we can’t guarantee exactly how long your treatment will take, most patients spend anywhere from 12-36 months years in treatment. You’ll see us regularly during your orthodontic journey! 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

Leave your smile to the experts at Central Massachusetts Orthodontic Associates

Dr. Giarrusso and Dr. Livanos can provide the absolute best when it comes to orthodontic care. They provide unmatched in skill, expertise, and attention to detail to every patient. Since our sole specialty is orthodontics, you’ll receive nothing but the best in treatments, cost, and efficiency as we work to give you a stunning smile that’s unforgettable!

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 take the first step towards a healthier smile, so get in touch today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Giarrusso and Dr. Livanos!