Questions to Ask When Choosing an Orthodontist

A confident smile is life-changing. It makes the best first impression because it allows a person’s inner beauty to shine. Many people feel insecure about their smile, and we know that a successful orthodontic treatment experience isn’t just about receiving professional and gentle care – you also need to trust your doctor and that the orthodontic team has your best interests in mind. But how do you know what is important when choosing an orthodontist? Coming up with questions to ask when choosing an orthodontist is an essential part of the process. 

At Serrano Orthodontics, we believe that the essence of good health is helping people – especially children – feel good about themselves, about us, and others. Orthodontic treatment is more than just straightening teeth. Orthodontics builds self-esteem and self-confidence and will nurture this kind of good health. 

 Our team prioritizes patient education because you should always know what’s going on with your personalized treatment. And we know you deserve an experienced orthodontist who helps you feel empowered from your first appointment to your most recent.

But what else should you be asking? To help you begin your orthodontic journey, we’ve put together a list of questions to ask before committing to an orthodontic practice for treatment. 

Is the doctor a trained orthodontic specialist?

You might be surprised to learn that just because a dentist offers orthodontic treatment doesn’t mean they are specially trained in orthodontics. Many general dentists also provide braces treatment and clear aligner therapy in addition to standard dental services such as cleanings, fillings, crowns, and dentures. While an orthodontist, on the other hand, specializes only in providing orthodontic services. 

After a dentist has completed their undergraduate education, they must attend a graduate school specifically for dentistry and pass a certification exam before beginning their general dentistry work. The same goes for orthodontists, except they must attend an extremely competitive orthodontic residency program after their general dentistry certification. These programs typically last another 2 to 3 years and include full-time training meaning the orthodontist has:

  •       Studied the growth and maturation of teeth and jaws
  •       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

While there are some exceptions, most dentists simply will not possess this level of in-depth orthodontic training and experience. If you are looking for foundational oral health maintenance, trust your dentist. But, if you need specialized orthodontic care, you can trust that Drs. Andrew and Paul Serrano are board-certified orthodontists passionate about creating a beautiful smile that you can be excited to share with the world.

Serrano Orthodontics is truly a practice that focuses on the entire family, from children who could benefit from interceptive treatment, parents who need a ‘tune-up’ with Invisalign, to grandparents looking into treatment for obstructive sleep apnea using the most therapeutic oral appliance available. You want our doctors to create your new smile–not aligners you order through the mail. 

At Serrano Orthodontics, the relationship between the patient and doctor is truly a partnership in striving for a common goal: to achieve and maintain a beautiful, healthy smile that will last a lifetime!

Questions to Ask When Choosing an Orthodontist

What treatment options does the orthodontist offer?

Most patients opt for traditional metal braces to straighten their teeth. While this is the most common option, you have several other treatment options available to reach your smile goals quickly and effectively. By pairing state-of-the-art technology with our thorough understanding of the movement during facial growth, Dr. Andrew or Dr. Paul can successfully treat many dental issues based on your unique needs and goals using metal braces, clear braces, or clear aligners called Invisalign.

Metal Braces

Traditional metal braces are the most widely used type of fixed orthodontic appliance. Although past incarnations have been bulky, awkward, and painful, today’s metal braces are smaller, lighter, and more comfortable. Our advanced braces are made for efficient tooth movement and optimal patient comfort. No two people are alike, and our variety of colored ties allows you to truly individualize your orthodontic experience and match your style.

Clear Braces

Ceramic braces use the same components as traditional metal braces, but instead of metal, the brackets on the front side of the teeth are made of a transparent or tooth-colored ceramic material. This makes clear braces a common choice for teenagers and older patients who do not like the aesthetic of the metal look. Clear braces require more care as the ceramic pieces can break and are prone to staining depending on your eating and cleaning habits. 


Unlike traditional braces, orthodontic treatment with Invisalign doesn’t rely on a system of metal or ceramic brackets and wires. Instead, Invisalign uses 3-D computer technology to create a custom-fit series of invisible, removable acrylic trays that straighten your teeth by applying steady pressure on your teeth as you wear them. They are replaced every 1 to 2 weeks to make this adjustment gradually. Although you can remove them to eat and brush your teeth, you will need to wear them about 22 hours a day to be effective. 

How frequent are follow-up appointments with the orthodontist? 

While your exact follow-up timing will vary depending on the orthodontic treatment plan you and our expert team determine is right for you, we schedule most patients’ adjustment appointments every four to eight weeks. Patients using Invisalign may be seen less frequently, but these appointments are crucial for your overall orthodontic process. 

The average process will take anywhere from 8 to 36 months to achieve your perfect smile, but visible results are evident as early as the first few months of treatment! We understand busy schedules and value your time, so give us a heads up if you’re running late or need to reschedule. Keep in mind that your participation in the follow-up care is just as meaningful in achieving positive results. 

Are their treatments affordable?

At Serrano Orthodontics, we aim to provide outstanding value for a reasonable price, but your new smile can be more affordable than you think. While treatment fees vary depending on the complexity of your orthodontic treatment, we can determine a price that fits your specific orthodontic needs after your initial examination—interested to see how much treatment may cost you? Check out this tool that helps to give you a “ballpark” idea of how much you could expect to pay for common treatments. 

We offer flexible payment plans and automatic bank drafts to make the process easier for you. We also check with your insurance company for orthodontic benefits and are happy to file your paperwork and claims for you.

Questions to Ask When Choosing an Orthodontist

Look no further – Serrano Orthodontics is the choice for Orthodontics in the Phoenix area!

Serrano Orthodontics has been the standard in Arizona smiles for more than three decades! Our doctors and skilled team take pride in staying up to date on the latest in orthodontic treatment and braces technology. With a modern and relaxing office in both Phoenix and Chandler, you can receive high-quality orthodontic care just minutes from your home, school, or work to fit your schedule. 

There’s never been a better time to reach for the smile you’ve always wanted, so join the 14,000 patients they’ve made smile and get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with our expert orthodontic team!