How To Choose An Orthodontist

Choosing an orthodontist can be confusing, but with a little informed research you can feel confident the doctor you have chosen is qualified and properly trained in orthodontics.

Ask questions as you inquire about braces and orthodontic treatment:

Is the doctor a specialist in Orthodontics?
What is the name of the U.S. University orthodontic program?
Was the training a full time residency?
What was the length of the full time program?
What is their orthodontic specialty license number for Nevada?
Does the office “take your insurance” or are they preferred providers for your insurance?
Does the Doctor live in Las Vegas and is he/she available for emergencies?
Is the doctor Board Certified in Orthodontics?

1 – The specialty of orthodontics requires a license in general dentistry, followed by a 24-36 month residency program at an accredited university. After completing this program and passing the required examination in the state of Nevada the orthodontist will be given a specialty license number beginning with an “S” (example is S3-59). Most will proudly display this number and it is legally required on all advertising. If you do not see it, question why it is not displayed. If the person you are considering is unable to produce a specialty license, they are not an orthodontist legally practicing in Nevada.

2 – It is very important for you to note that many short courses are available to general dentists. While these are helpful in gaining a limited understanding of orthodontic treatment, it in no way can replace the comprehensive 2-3 years of full time training of an orthodontist and one who limits their practice to this specialty.

3 – Preferred providers for your insurance can save you a great deal of money. The preferred provider signs a contract with the insurance company to charge a set fee for all of the covered members. Offices may agree to take your insurance, but without a contract, they can charge any fee which is more than a preferred provider will charge.

What is Board Eligible?

The term “Board Eligible” simply means the doctor has completed the requirements for a specialty license but has not yet successfully completed the American Board of Orthodontics Examination.  This exam consists of two comprehensive tests, one written and one clinical.  It is important to ask if the doctor has completed both.

What is a Board Certified Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dentist who has completed an American Dental Association accredited graduate program in the specialty of orthodontics. A dentist who graduates from a specialty program becomes an orthodontic specialist who is eligible to become board certified through the voluntary examination process of The American Board of Orthodontics (ABO). Involvement in the certification process is a demonstration of the orthodontist’s pursuit of continued proficiency and excellence.

The certification process involves a thorough Written Examination covering all areas of information on which an orthodontist should be knowledgeable.  The orthodontist must then present treated cases which will be evaluated by expert examiners of the Board during a Clinical Examination. The passage of the examination process is a demonstration to the dental profession and the general public of the orthodontist’s pursuit of continued proficiency and excellence in orthodontics.

Certification is now awarded for a time-limited period and the orthodontist must re-examine on a periodic basis to retain the board certified status.