Three Questions To Ask When Choosing An Orthodontist

Here at Brady Orthodontics, we understand that taking the first step in improving your oral health with orthodontic treatment is a big decision! You don’t want to trust your smile to anything less than an experienced orthodontist, but you may not be sure where to start. Our goal is to help patients feel educated and empowered throughout their orthodontic treatment process! That’s why we’ve put together this list of three questions to ask when choosing an orthodontist in order to make the best decision for your individual care. 

Keep reading below for a detailed look at what you should know before committing to orthodontic treatment!

Are you seeing a trained orthodontic specialist?

This may seem pretty obvious, but this is the most important question you can ask when pursuing treatment with braces or Invisalign clear aligner therapy! This is because some general dentists are also capable of providing some orthodontic treatment, even though it isn’t their specialty. A general dentist will usually offer common dental services such as fillings, crowns, dentures, and occasional orthodontic treatment, like clear aligners. An orthodontist, on the other hand, is fully committed to providing only orthodontic services.

This distinction matters. Imagine that you or your child required specialized treatment or surgery. Would you feel comfortable with your family physician treating you, or would you prefer a specialist who has additional years of training for your specific needs? Orthodontists are dentists who have gone through several years of additional specialized training and residency programs focused on orthodontics. This means that 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 are extremely competitive, so only the top students in any dental school’s graduating class are accepted. These orthodontic specialty programs typically last from 2-3 years, with full-time training that focuses on correcting orthodontic issues using braces, aligners, and other treatment methods. While there are exceptions to every rule, most general dentists will not possess the same level of exhaustive orthodontic training and experience. 

Dr. Patrick Brady earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Davidson College before going on to pursue his love for dentistry. Dr. Brady earned a Doctorate of Dental Medicine from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry where he developed a passion for orthodontics. He was amazed at the transformations that orthodontic treatment can provide, cosmetically and health wise. 

Dr. Brady then attended the University of Iowa College of Dentistry where he received his Master’s Certificate in Orthodontics. As an orthodontic student, he presented research at national meetings for the American Dental Education Association and the American Association of Orthodontics. Dr. Brady is a board certified by the American Board of Orthodontics, an achievement only 33% or orthodontists go on to reach!

Here at Brady Orthodontics, our only focus is orthodontic care and treatment. Dr. Brady spends his days performing procedures to straighten teeth and correct any number of orthodontic issues. Our team keeps up to date with the latest industry practices and techniques by regularly attending continuing education courses. Our Winnetka office is designed to meet the needs of each and every patient! You can feel confident that you’ll receive nothing less than expert, high-quality, individualized orthodontic care!

Three Questions To Ask When Choosing An Orthodontist

What treatment options do you have available?

Dr. Brady is proud to offer a variety of modern orthodontic treatment options to patients of all ages, including traditional metal braces and Invisalign clear aligner therapy. 

Metal braces

Traditional metal braces continue to be the most popular orthodontic treatment option, and due to their recent progress, it’s not hard to see why! These braces are typically made of a combination of high-grade stainless steel, nickel, and other durable metals. Bands are wrapped around the back molars, and smaller metal brackets are attached to the front surfaces of the other teeth. There is also a thing, springy metal wire that runs through the brackets, which may be fixed to the brackets by flexible elastics, metal ties, or another type of clasp. These components work together to gently guide your teeth into the desired positions over a period of time. 

Metal braces are an efficient, effective, and affordable way to straighten your teeth. They’re also customizable and more comfortable than ever before. With smaller, lighter brackets and a variety of multicolored bands to choose from, metal braces are a perfect fit for any personality!


The Invisalign clear aligner system is made up of a series of customized aligners that are nearly invisible and completely removable. Unlike traditional braces, they don’t require brackets and wires to move the teeth! This gives patients a level of freedom and flexibility that traditional braces just can’t compare to. Designed to fit snugly and comfortably over your own teeth, Invisalign provides a more discreet and comfortable orthodontic treatment option. When worn 20-22 hours per day, as recommended by Dr. Brady, and changed out weekly with the next in the series, these aligners will gradually move your teeth into the desired positions.

Invisalign Teen

Although Invisalign and Invisalign Teen work the same way when it comes to the underlying technology, Invisalign Teen was designed with the unique needs of teen patients in mind. There are a few special features that are specific to the Invisalign Teen system, including the following:

Compliance indicators

To help teens stick to their treatment plan, Invisalign Teen includes a compliance indicator incorporated into each aligner. This will fade from blue to clear with use, providing a visual approximation of wear. This allows patients, parents, and orthodontists to keep track of patient use. If a teen is skipping out on hours, it will be noticeable in enough time for us to correct compliance, thus keeping the straightening process moving along at the right pace.

Eruption tabs

This feature accommodates the growth of the second molars in young adults, helping to keep space open for unerupted teeth and making it possible to treat a wider range of conditions using Invisalign.

Replacement aligners

We all lose or damage things from time to time. While we encourage all of our Invisalign patients to be careful with their aligners, teens don’t need to stress about misplacing or losing one. Invisalign Teen anticipates this happening, and provides up to six replacement aligners at no charge, just in case!

How frequent are follow-up visits in the office?

No matter what treatment option you choose, you can expect regular visits to your orthodontist. For patients wearing braces, adjustment appointments are scheduled about every 4-6 weeks or so. During these visits, Dr. Brady will check your teeth’s progress, make necessary adjustments to the wires, and replace any worn-out rubber bands to keep your smile progress on track. Invisalign patients may be seen slightly less frequently, but these appointments are still an essential part of the orthodontic process. 

Treatment time will vary based on each individual case, however, patients tend to spend 12-36 months in their braces or aligners. During this time, we’ll see each other pretty often! We understand that you have a busy schedule, and your time is valuable to us. That’s why we never overbook our patients and always aim to see you at your scheduled appointment time!

Three Questions To Ask When Choosing An Orthodontist

Expertise you can trust at Brady Orthodontics

If you’re looking for a high-quality, positive orthodontic experience, you can’t do better than Dr. Patrick Brady! You’ll receive a personalized treatment plan and unmatched care from the start of your treatment to the day you get your braces taken off. Dr. Brady has the training and experience necessary to give you the best in treatments, cost, and efficiency as we work together to achieve the smile of your dreams. 

If you’re ready to take the first step in your orthodontic journey, we would love to meet you and help you along the way! At your FREE initial consultation, Dr. Brady will give you a thorough orthodontic examination. He’ll discuss any diagnosis with you, and walk you through what your next steps should be. This is a no-pressure appointment! Even if you decide not to pursue orthodontic treatment right away, we’ll be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you might have in order to help you make an informed decision.

There’s never been a better time to go after the smile you’ve always wanted, so contact Brady Orthodontics today to schedule your complimentary consultation