The Dr. Jamie Reynolds Story

It surprises me how often people ask me not about teeth, but about myself. Questions like, “Why did you become an orthodontist?” and “Growing up, did you always know you wanted to be an orthodontist?” So I thought I’d write a little bit about my story and how I ended up where I am today.


My first passion


I grew up in Lake Orion, Michigan, about 45 minutes outside of Detroit, a town that did (and still does) manufacture cars. My dad, Bob, worked for the phone company and my mom, Jane, was a special education teacher for the blind until my sister, Erin, was born. From our family and our community, my sister and I grew up valuing education, hard work, honesty, and integrity.


I did not, however, grow up knowing that orthodontics was in my future. For a long time, I had my sights set on sports, believe it or not. I dreamed of being a basketball player, like my hero Isiah Thomas of the Detroit Pistons. But my basketball skills didn’t take me past high school.


In college, I turned my attention towards exercise physiology with the plan of becoming an athletic trainer. As long as I was close to sports, I would be happy. I gave up basketball but found a new passion in volleyball, making captain of the team and eventually garnering all-Big Ten and all-region honors. This continued past college, when I did the pro beach two-on-two sand volleyball circuit. I left that life behind, too, though I still get to the beach as often as possible.


A new passion


Volleyball was not a sustainable career, I knew, and I eventually found my way to orthodontics. I earned my dental degree from the University of Michigan (where I also earned my undergraduate degree) and my master’s in orthodontics from the University of Detroit-Mercy.


After completing my residency in orthodontics, I started working for Spillane Orthodontics in Novi, Michigan, the town where my wife is from and about 45 minutes from where I grew up. It’s called Spillane & Reynolds Orthodontics now, and it’s where I see patients to this day. We still have our Novi location as well as additional locations in Rochester Hills, Troy, and West Bloomfield.


I’ve found that in order to serve my patients best, I have to do more than treat them in the chair. It’s my goal to be a part of the latest, most cutting-edge developments in orthodontic treatments and technologies. To that end, I’ve been involved in clinical trials that help bring sophisticated new technology to the field, I’ve been a consultant for various orthodontic companies, I’ve lectured on three continents, and I’ve even written a book, World-Class Smiles, Made in Detroit, in order to reach as many people as possible.


Passion and philosophy in action


Over the years, my passion for orthodontics and philosophy of patient care has led me to my mission: to bring world-class orthodontic treatment to the people in my community in a way that everyone can afford.


To do that, I’ve had to get the world-class training, skills, and experience that would allow me to provide that level of service. I’ve also had to ensure that my services were affordable for the families in my community. Having grown up in a blue-collar town myself, I understand how hard people work and what an investment it is for families to give their kids orthodontic treatment.


This led me to cofound OrthoFi, a company that allows patients to receive high-quality, leading-edge orthodontic treatment affordably. I’m proud to say that it’s helped hundreds of thousands of people get the care they need in a way that works for them. I believe that everyone deserves a healthy, beautiful smile, and OrthoFi helps with that mission.


Looking back


It’s funny to look back and see where my career has taken me since my dreams of basketball glory in high school. Although I could never have predicted the path my life would take, I know I’m in the right place, doing what I love, and making a difference in the lives of the people I serve.

How often should you see your orthodontist?

How often should you see your orthodontist? As often as it takes to get the job done!

Really, this question is so dependent on individual circumstances that there’s no single answer to it. You know to see the dentist once a year, and to visit the hygienist twice a year, but how many times you see the orthodontist will depend on your treatment.

The First Visit to the Orthodontist

The first visit to the orthodontist should happen by the time a child is seven years old, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. At this age, permanent teeth haven’t fully grown in and both the upper jaw and lower jaw are still growing, which gives time for early intervention if needed.

If the child is one of the 80% who doesn’t need early treatment, this will be the only visit to the orthodontist until they’re older. If they do need early treatment, the number of visits will depend on the treatment being done.

How Often to See the Orthodontist During Treatment With Braces

Patients with traditional braces can expect to see their orthodontist every four to eight weeks throughout treatment. At these visits, the orthodontist will check the progress of your teeth and may tighten the braces or replace the wires.

Similarly, patients with Invisalign will typically visit their orthodontist every four to six weeks in order to make sure everything’s on track.

After the Braces Come Off

Once the braces come off, your orthodontist may still want to see you in order to ensure your teeth don’t start moving back to their old positions. To this end, removable retainers (the plastic things that are so often thrown away on lunch trays at school) and permanent retainers (a wire bonded to the back of teeth to keep them in place) will likely be used.

You will need to visit your orthodontist in order to be fitted for a removable retainer or to have a permanent retainer attached. If you have a removable retainer, your orthodontist may then want you back after a month or two to see if it’s time to go from all-day wear to night-only wear. If you have a permanent retainer, you will only need to go back to the orthodontist if it comes loose and needs repair, or until it’s time to take it off altogether.

How Often to See the Orthodontist During Treatment with Headgear, Expanders, and Other Appliances

Not all orthodontic treatment involves braces. Other appliances, including headgear, expanders, face masks, and functional appliances, are used to address jaw, bite, and teeth issues.

No matter what the treatment option, your orthodontist will want to see you regularly to make sure everything is going along as planned and make any adjustments as necessary. Visiting your orthodontist every four to eight weeks during active treatment is common.

Keeping Orthodontic Appointments

No matter what orthodontic treatment you or your child is undergoing, it’s important to keep your appointments with the orthodontist. Orthodontic treatment is progressive, meaning that changes happen over time, and without visits to the orthodontist to check and make adjustments, that progress can get off track. While the orthodontist will do everything possible to ensure great treatment, it’s up to you to follow through to get the beautiful smile you’ve always wanted.

The Right Age for Braces

“When is the right time for braces?” This is a common question from parents about their children. But I think they’re asking the wrong question; when they think of orthodontic care, they think that means braces to straighten teeth, but there’s so much more to it.

The right question is, “When is the right time for my child to start orthodontic care?” The answer: It depends. It depends on the issue, it depends on the available treatment options, and it depends on the parents and the child.

I know that answer isn’t very helpful, so let me go into more depth so you have a better understanding and can make an informed decision for your child’s care.

Why Visit the Orthodontist by Age 7?

Let’s start with the American Association of Orthodontists recommendation that all children visit an orthodontist by the age of seven. This may seem very young, but there are a few good reasons for it.

First, a child’s jaw is not fully grown at this age; the upper jaw grows until about eight, while the lower jaw continues to grow for many years afterward. Because of this, treatment to correct certain jaw and bite problems may be faster and easier with early, rather than late, intervention, while there’s still some growth happening in the upper jaw.

Second, a child at this age still has many baby teeth, meaning the permanent teeth have not fully come in. This gives orthodontists the opportunity to see things like how they will come in, if there’s room in the mouth for all of them, and if there are extra teeth or missing teeth. He or she can then address those problems early if needed.

Finally, the orthodontist has an opportunity to discuss the child’s sleep patterns, if relevant. Children who snore may have airway obstructions, leading to poor quality of sleep, and this is something that can be discussed and corrected early, rather than leaving it to worsen for years.

Though it’s recommended that all children see the orthodontist by this age, the vast majority of them – about 80% – won’t need any type of orthodontic treatment at this point.

One-Phase Versus Two-Phase Treatment

For the remaining 20% who would benefit from early intervention, again, their treatment is often more successful when started earlier, for the reasons mentioned above. Typically, these children undergo two-phase treatment. The first phase focuses on the jaw, how the upper and lower jaw fit together, and how the teeth come in, and may involve appliances such as an expander, headgear, or a functional appliance. The second phase focuses on the alignment of teeth, and typically involves braces.

Children whose issues don’t require early intervention will go through one-phase treatment, i.e., braces, usually in the pre-teen or teenage years, often around age 12.

There’s No “Right” Age for Everyone

Hopefully, you can see now that orthodontic care is about more than simply straightening teeth and that the best age to start treatment can vary from child to child. Take your child to the orthodontist for a visit by the age of seven and if you’re unsure of the orthodontist’s proposed treatment plan, get a second opinion to be sure. Two-phase treatment, if needed, could end up being the most cost-effective, quickest, and least painful treatment option available in the long run, as long as it’s done early enough.

Mouth emergencies… and what can wait

There are few things that constitute true emergencies when it comes to oral and dental health. Most things, like broken or lost retainers, poking wires from braces, and sore gums, can be addressed within a few days and don’t require immediate attention. But there are some cases where immediate medical or dental attention is necessary. Here’s how to tell the difference.

Seek Treatment ASAP If: You Have Severe Pain with Symptoms of Infection  

An infection in the mouth can sometimes spread to other areas of the body. In the worst-case scenario, this can lead to sepsis, which can be fatal. Signs of infection that have spread include fever, rapid breathing, abnormally high or low blood pressure, and/or confusion. Symptoms in the mouth include severe pain, swelling in the gums or the face, bad breath, and pus or fluids coming from the infected area.

If you see any combination of these symptoms, go to the emergency department for treatment immediately. Don’t “wait and see” if things improve. Infections can spread quickly and cause major long-term damage to the body. Better safe than sorry.

You Can Wait If: Toothache or Soreness from Braces 

Fortunately, most toothache is minor and can wait for treatment. If the pain in your tooth is an annoyance, and you don’t have other accompanying symptoms, it’s safe to wait a day or two to see your dentist.

A minor amount of pain after braces have been put on or tightened is completely normal and shouldn’t necessitate a visit to the dentist at all. The pain can be easily managed at home with ice, dental wax, or an over-the-counter painkiller.

Seek Treatment ASAP If: Your Tooth Was Knocked Out

Falls and blows to the face can lead to a tooth being knocked out, which is a true emergency. The only way to save the tooth is to take immediate action. According to the American Association of Endodontists, the best thing to do is pick up the tooth without touching the exposed root, rinse with water ONLY (no detergents or cleansers) if it’s dirty, and place it back in the socket right away. Hold the tooth in place and keep it moist. If you can’t put it back in your mouth, keep it between your cheek and gums or place it in a cup of milk – never tap water. Ideally, you should see an endodontist or dentist within 30 minutes of losing your tooth for the best chance to save it. If that’s not possible, take a trip to the emergency department.

You Can Wait If: Your Tooth Was Chipped or Broken

You will want to see your dentist as soon as you’re able, but a broken or chipped tooth is not an emergency like a knocked-out tooth. Depending on how the tooth broke, your dentist may be able to repair or rebuild it.

Seek Treatment ASAP If: Cuts to the Mouth Causing Excessive Bleeding

Uncontrolled bleeding in the mouth from cuts should be addressed by a doctor and may require stitches.

You Can Wait If: Bleeding is Minor

Bleeding in the mouth isn’t uncommon, and can be caused by inflamed gums, irritated sores, or minor cuts. If the bleeding is minor and stops on its own, there’s no need to seek immediate treatment. Just make sure to discuss the bleeding you’ve seen when you next see your dentist.

When in Doubt, Seek Treatment

No one wants to go to urgent care or the emergency department, but sometimes that’s the best option. If you’re just not sure if it can wait, and you can’t get a hold of your dentist’s or orthodontist’s office because it’s after hours, seek medical care. It will give you peace of mind and may end up saving your tooth – or even your life.

The Pros and Cons of Invisalign, Clear Braces, and Cosmetic Orthodontic Treatment

A beautiful smile is both desirable and accessible. Adults, now more than ever, are seeking orthodontic treatment to help create the smiles they have always dreamed of.

With so many adults now seeking orthodontic treatment, the question often is, “Do I have to be a ‘metal mouth’?” The answer is no… there are non-traditional, cosmetic, or clear options, including Invisalign, clear braces, lingual braces, instant orthodontics, and accelerated orthodontics.

These non-traditional approaches have their own pros and cons, so I have provided a brief summary of the different choices for you.


Invisalign Pros:

  • It is the most aesthetic option for moving teeth
  • Aligners can be removed for eating
  • It makes teeth cleaning easy

Invisalign Cons:

  • It cannot treat difficult cases
  • Discipline is required to wear the trays all day and night for many months
  • It is often offered by dentists with very limited training, which may lead to less-than-ideal results

Clear Braces

Clear Braces Pros:

  • The system can treat more difficult problems
  • Braces are much clearer than they used to be
  • Braces are virtually unnoticeable in photos

Clear Braces Cons:

  • Braces are slightly less aesthetic than Invisalign
  • Braces are prone to the same problems that conventional braces have, such as poking wires and breakage

Lingual Braces

Lingual Braces Pros:

  • They are more aesthetic than clear braces
  • They can be an alternative to Invisalign for more difficult cases

Lingual Braces Cons:

  • They make speaking more difficult
  • They are not comfortable
  • They are more expensive than other options
  • Treatment can take longer, with more visits

Instant Orthodontics

Instant Orthodontics Pros:

  • This method can quickly restore worn, broken, or discolored teeth
  • Work can be done in weeks instead of months or years

Instant Orthodontics Cons:

  • It is typically by far the most expensive of all options
  • It requires grinding down teeth and replacing them with porcelain
  • It requires several replacements throughout your lifetime
  • It doesn’t typically correct the bite the way traditional orthodontics does

Accelerated Orthodontics

Accelerated Orthodontics Pros:

  • Achieve high-quality treatment in a fraction of the time

Accelerated Orthodontics Cons:

  • Brand names and marketing can be misleading; you may not be getting what you are promised

Contemporary orthodontic treatment offers more options than ever before to avoid metal braces, but keep in mind that every individual is unique and requires a customized treatment plan from a well-trained orthodontist for the best results.

How to Decrease the Cost of Braces

The Cost of Braces: Orthodontic treatment is an investment in health, self-confidence, and the future. It’s a significant monetary investment as well. After doing all the research and asking all the questions to find the right orthodontic provider, navigating the payment arrangements comes next.

Now more than ever, do your due diligence to save money where possible.


Approximately 50 percent of those seeking orthodontic treatment do not have coverage. If you have orthodontic insurance, congratulations!

A few tips for getting the most benefit from your orthodontic insurance:

  • Some insurance policies require a one-year waiting period, so you may have to sign up now for benefits next year
  • If you may be interested in orthodontics in the future, get a free exam and check with your insurance supplier about coverage as soon as possible
  • Beware of DHMO insurances. Although these may look good at first glance and provide little out-of-pocket expense for treatment, they pay very little to the doctor.  This virtually guarantees you will receive lower quality materials and cost-cutting measures, which could provide a less-than-ideal result or experience.  All braces and all doctors are not created equal, so be sure to do your homework if you are looking at an office that accepts DHMO insurance for treatment.
  • Find the doctor you like because, for almost all orthodontic insurance, you will still get the same insurance benefit for in- or out-of-network doctors
  • Ask your orthodontist for a complimentary benefits check

Flexible Spending and Health Savings Accounts

FSAs and HSAs allow the use of pretax dollars for qualified health-care expenses, which include orthodontics. Both types of accounts are a significant tax advantage and can be the most powerful way to save money on orthodontic treatment.

A few things to remember:

  • FSA funds expire each year, so pay attention to your company’s deadlines
  • Most companies require you to let them know ahead of time how much you would like to set aside
  • If your employer does not provide access to an FSA account, ask a financial planner if you can participate in an HSA account. These accounts actually allow you to save significantly more money per year toward health care expenses and also do not expire at the end of each year.
  • Know your enrollment periods; failing to sign up in time could cost you significantly more in after-tax dollars to pay for your treatment

Flexible Financing

Most offices will offer several options to pay for treatment, which may include:

  1. Paying in full to receive a certain percentage off
  2. Making a down payment and taking on one to two years of monthly payments
  3. Opting for an extended financing plan

Avoid Hidden Fees

If you opt for an extended financing plan, watch for missed payment fees or surprise charges. You also shouldn’t need to pay higher than a 7 or 8 percent APR for an extended payment plan. Shorter payment plans are available with a 0 percent APR.

When comparing orthodontists’ prices, look closely at the cheapest. Many offices offer low prices up front but hit you with fees later in treatment, making the total cost much higher. Fees for broken brackets, missed appointments, and cancellations and extra charges for retainers and the like can dramatically increase your total cost.  Also, it is safe to assume that cheaper treatment fees are made possible by cheaper materials, lesser trained orthodontic team members, and other cost-cutting.

Also, beware of any office that charges additional monthly fees after a certain point. For example, many lower-priced offices will charge extra if treatment extends beyond twenty-four months—creating an incentive for them to keep your braces on longer.

Fixing Bad Treatment

Not all braces are not created equal. Many cheap braces are made of cheap metals and lower-grade metals are much more likely to create irritation and sensitivity in patients.  Cutting corners in manufacturing makes braces inconsistent in their dimension which makes treatment take longer or will compromise the quality of the results.

Consider quality while shopping because the cheapest orthodontic treatment in town may come with a significant hidden cost in dollars, time, comfort, and your end-results.

The time, energy, and dollars you are spending on dental health, a new smile, and a healthy bite are investments that should last a lifetime. Use insurance, spending/savings accounts, flexible financing, while wisely avoiding hidden fees and the cost of fixing bad treatment, to maximize your investment.

Is it Time for Orthodontic Treatment? 4 Questions to Ask…

When is the right time to start orthodontic treatment? The best timing for treatment varies for every person. These four questions will help determine a good timeframe for you or your loved one.

Do You Have a “Bad Bite?

Orthodontic treatment not only moves crooked teeth so they are beautiful and straight, it corrects major bite problems. Although “bad bites” can seem subtle, and may not present noticeable symptoms, a bite that doesn’t fit well together can result in long-term consequences. A few symptoms of bite problems are:

  • Tooth Pain – When it comes to your bite, even a fraction of a millimeter can irritate a nerve and cause tooth pain.
  • TMJ Pain – If you have a hard time opening your mouth or have significant pain during jaw movement, you may have TMJ problems.
  • Muscular pain –Headaches with an unexplainable source may be caused by bite issues.
  • Tooth wear – Significant wear can occur if teeth do not fit together properly.
  • Gum wear – If your bite is off, the gums and supporting bone can prematurely wear.

Prevention by correcting your bite early is the best option. Even if these symptoms are not present now, your bite is something that can be off for a while and not cause a lot of problems—until it does. Dealing with bite issues proactively is much less painful, may take less effort, and can be less expensive than dealing with bite problems later.

What is Your Sleep Like?

Sleep apnea is catching the attention of more and more medical professionals. Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person will temporarily stop breathing while he or she is sleeping. Repetitive bouts of not breathing, called episodes, can cause serious health problems. Sleep apnea left untreated over time is now believed to be a significant factor in premature death as well as many other health issues.

There are several types of sleep apnea, the most common and most treatable being obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA. A very common symptom of OSA is snoring. If snoring is present with repeated bouts during which it appears the person is holding his or her breath, seek an evaluation for obstructive sleep apnea. An expander can be a very effective, and sometimes life-changing, treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.

How Many Teeth Do You Have?

The correct number of teeth for an adult is thirty-two, and it is not unusual for people to have missing or extra teeth. Both the presence and absence of the correct number of permanent teeth are important factors in orthodontic treatment.

Missing or extra teeth are often diagnosed for the first time in the orthodontist’s office.

X-rays used by general dentists do not provide as wide of a view as a panoramic x-ray or a 3-D cone-beam computed tomography scan (CBCT) used at the orthodontist.

Having extra teeth causes the other teeth to develop out of place and often leads to crowding, rotations, and impacted teeth. Because extra teeth can cause lots of unwanted trouble, early screening is key. Two-phase treatment is oftentimes necessary to undo the issues caused by extra teeth.

Missing teeth are more common than extra teeth. While it is very important to identify that teeth are missing, treatment is typically not initiated until all other permanent teeth have grown in. The management of missing teeth is a difficult and complicated topic, so early identification and management will help with developing an appropriate treatment plan to achieve the best results.

How Old Are You?

If you have young children, I recommended having them screened at age seven or eight so an orthodontist can look for some of these problems that require early intervention. Most of the time, your child will be told to wait until they are older to start treatment. But, some may have the above-mentioned problems calling for earlier help.

If you are an adult considering orthodontic treatment, it is never too late. More and more adults are seeking orthodontic treatment to help create the smiles they have always dreamed of. And, fortunately, modern orthodontics offer many cosmetic options.

5 Things You Need to Do When Looking for the Best Orthodontic Provider

Choosing the best orthodontic provider, office and treatment plan for you or your loved ones can be a difficult decision. With an infinite amount of information available to consumers at the click of a button, the choices of care are endless. One Google search may leave your head spinning.

Here are the five things you need to do when visiting an orthodontist and considering treatment:

  1. Check their credentials and experience.

It takes years of training to be able to treat orthodontic cases well. It’s important to find a provider who consistently and continually—over the course of years, not days or weekends—pursues education and training.  A qualified provider will have gone through a full-time, accredited residency. They will provide the highest possible level of orthodontic care. During your visit, ask to look at before-and-after photos. Most doctors who have treated many cases will keep books of before-and-after photos and can show you photos of cases like yours. The goal is to determine the training level of your future orthodontic provider.

  1. Pay close attention to the numbers.

It may not be wise to choose the cheapest provider out there, but it is important to analyze the cost of treatment.

Most offices will offer several payment options, so make sure to ask the office manager about flexible financing. If you’re able to pay in full, you’ll typically save a small percentage. If you choose to make a down payment and take on one to two years of monthly payments, watch for surprise charges for missing a payment.

Be wary of other hidden fees. Many offices offer low prices up front but hit you with fees later in treatment, making the total cost much higher. Fees for broken brackets, missed appointments, and cancellations and extra charges for retainers and the like can dramatically increase your total cost.

  1. Ask more about their treatment plan.

In addition to straightening crooked teeth, the treatment plan should be focused on correcting your bite. Many patients, and unfortunately many dental providers, do not have a concept of how important the bite is to overall dental health. If you have crooked teeth, you likely also have a bite problem, and you will benefit greatly from having any bite problems corrected. You may not notice an issue now but, sooner or later, unnoticed bite problems will catch up with you. Although “bad bites” can seem subtle, and may not present noticeable symptoms, a bite that doesn’t fit well together can result in long-term consequences like tooth pain, TMJ, muscular pain, tooth wear, and gum wear.

When talking about their treatment plan, if your doctor recommends pulling any permanent teeth, you should seek to understand why and if there is a better option. Removal of permanent teeth is more of a last resort than a treatment of choice. And, unless this is a “last resort” case, a doctor may be recommending extractions when modern orthodontic techniques could treat equally or better, without removing your permanent teeth.

  1. Get a second opinion before you start treatment.

When shopping for an orthodontist, many people think they are all exactly alike, but they absolutely are not.  There are different levels of skill, commitment, and expertise and there is a spectrum of orthodontic cases, from simple all the way to very, very difficult. Not all doctors are created equal. Most orthodontic exams are free, all you invest in a second opinion is your time, so it is wise to get a second opinion. Once you have visited several orthodontic specialists and get opinions that are consistent, chances are that the treatment plan is in your best interest.

  1. Most importantly, use your gut!

Orthodontic treatment doesn’t have to be a scary or unpleasant experience. In fact, I believe it can be fun! Look for personal touches, a helpful staff, and a well-run office to see how much they truly care about making your experience special. Each visit should leave you with something to smile about.

Top 5 Questions to Ask When Trying To Select an Orthodontist

It can be overwhelming to select an orthodontist for your family. There seem to be so many; where should you start? I’ve got the top 5 questions you want to ask when choosing your new orthodontist.

Question 1: Is he or she actually an orthodontist?

All orthodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are orthodontists. If you or your child needs treatment to address misaligned teeth, a bad bite, or underlying jaw issues, your best bet is to work with an orthodontist, as they have extensively trained and practiced in those areas.

You can easily determine if someone is an orthodontist (rather than a dentist who offers orthodontic treatment) by asking if they provide other services besides orthodontics. If they do teeth cleanings, fillings, crowns, dentures, or any other dental procedures, they are not a specialist and, therefore, not an orthodontist.

Question 2: Does this orthodontist have a good reputation?

Time to get Googling. Search the name of the orthodontist you’re considering and see what comes up. You can find reviews and testimonials from patients on the ortho’s Facebook page, Google page, Yelp (make sure to look at all reviews posted including the ‘hidden’ reviews), and Healthgrades. After et a thorough internet search, ask around for personal recommendations. Friends and family can be great resources and provide you valuable insight from personal experiences.

Question 3: Does this orthodontist have the expertise I need?

An orthodontist may have excellent reviews, awards, and the support of peers, but not be the right orthodontist for you.

You want one who has the expertise, experience, and technology to address the issues that you and your family need taking care of. If, say, you need help with sleep apnea brought on by TMD, you should look for an orthodontist who has experience treating TMD and the jaw joint, rather than an orthodontist whose practice is mainly straightening teeth with clear aligners.

You can usually find out what an orthodontist specializes in by reading their bio on their website and looking at the services offered. Again, reviews from patients can help, too. If you’re still uncertain, simply ask the orthodontist themselves.

Question 4: Can I pay for treatment at this orthodontist’s office?

There are two parts to this: “Can I afford this treatment?” and “Can I pay in a way that works for me?”

First, get a quote. Ask if the fee is all-inclusive. If it isn’t, ask what other common costs come up during treatment, and what they will set you back. Additional things that often come up include broken braces and appliances, prolonged treatment, retainers, refinements for Invisalign, canceled appointment fees, and more. Beware of the lowest price around. Some offices quote low prices cost to get you in the door, but the final price is much higher after all the add-on fees are applied during treatment.

As for how to pay, look at all your options. Dental insurance, FSAs, and HSAs are the first place to start. Many offices offer no-interest payment plans or long-term, low-interest payment plans to make it easier on patients and their families. Many offices offer 0% financing. Third-party financing services like Care Credit and Springstone also offer 0% financing, but be careful of the terms; if you miss one payment, you may be penalized steeply.

Remember that, as with most things, “you get what you pay for.” Offices with very low prices may have outdated technology, second-rate braces and appliances, and hidden fees. If you see a price that’s “too good to be true,” it probably is.

Question 5: Can I commit to this orthodontist’s office long-term?

This may seem like a strange question, but what I mean by it is, how will it fit into your life? Depending on the orthodontic treatment you or your child needs, there may be several office visits in your future, as your ortho checks on progress. It’s important to consider other factors that may not seem extremely important at first, such as location, parking, hours, ease of making and rescheduling appointments, and friendliness of front-desk staff. Convenience and warmth matter to the overall experience.

Also, many patients do think to ask, ‘How long will treatment take?’ Also, make sure to ask, ‘How many visits will it take to finish treatment?’. Your time is very valuable, be sure to consider the overall time commitment you will be making for required treatment visits. Choosing more advanced technology may save you many trips to the office and, subsequently, many hours of your time.

Taking Your Time to Get It Right

Unlike a filling or a root canal that can be done in an afternoon, orthodontic treatment typically takes longer, so you want to get it right. Ask these questions, do your research, and you’ll find the right orthodontist for you soon enough.