10 Things to Know When Choosing an Orthodontist

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10 crucial things to know when choosing an orthodontist

Does your child need an orthodontist? Don't miss 10 things you must know when picking the right one to work with as part of our Hull & Coleman review. 

The big day finally arrived! After two years of treatment with Dr. Hull of Hull & Coleman, the Peanut's braces are off. What a dazzling smile she has now.

I can't believe how fast the process went. It seems like just yesterday we were saying goodbye to what we affectionately called her "snaggletooth" -- an out of position canine she was somehow attached to.

In just a few visits, it was pulled into proper alignment and then the rest of her teeth were adjusted in what felt like no time at all.

Just as we finally got accustomed to seeing her with the braces on, we now have to adjust to this grown-up beauty with the braces off.

Just look at the difference two years made in my sweet baby girl:

Before and After Braces picture. In just 2 years it is amazing what the team at Hull & Coleman can do to adjust a tween's smile.

The offices at Hull & Coleman make the final day of braces coming off super exciting for the kids. She walked into the office to find her name on the Welcome Board next to "Braces Off!" and finally, FINALLY got to proudly ring that gong to signal her last day of braces.

We were so thrilled with the entire treatment experience, I wanted to share our top take-aways with you. I hope that this helps guide you in your decision making if you are weighing your options for braces for your kids.

10 Crucial Things To Look For in an Orthodontist:

When choosing an orthodontist, you will definitely want to keep the following factors in mind.

Be sure to look for:

1. Someone who will make your kid smile:

I knew right off the bat that Dr. Hull was going to be a perfect match for our family because he immediately put the Peanut at ease. He had her laughing and smiling through the consultation and she obviously enjoyed the experience more than other offices we had visited.

2. Someone who weighs the timeline with patient comfort:

The entire process took just over two years between braces on and braces off. That may sound long to you, but I swear it was like a blink of an eye for us. Before we knew it, we were discussing the braces coming off. I don't know where those two years went!

Dr. Hull definitely provided options for us to choose between a faster plan and a slightly longer plan. The longer route meant not pulling teeth and a few things that kept our girl more comfortable. He laid out the options and let us choose the one we were most comfortable with. It was wonderful to have the plans laid out so clearly and then be given control over the path we wanted.

3. An office that runs on time:

The staff at Hull & Coleman are amazing. We never waited longer than a few minutes for our appointments. The check-in process is smooth and quick. We felt everything ran like clockwork and never worried about sneaking in an appointment before other plans.

4. An office that runs efficiently with quick visits:

You can safely expect to be visiting every 4 - 6 weeks over the duration of treatment. The vast majority of those visits are quick checks to tighten things up or possibly add new features like rubber band hooks or elastic chains. 

At Hull & Coleman, most of our visits lasted in the 15 minute range. If one was expected to take longer, they gave us a heads-up before scheduling the next appointment. Even the long appointments only ran 30 minutes or so. They made it as easy on us as possible to sneak the work in quickly and get us back to our day.

5. Someone who's not nervous to be compared to other options:

Dr. Hull was not the only orthodontist we consulted with before braces. He openly chatted with us about why his option was a good plan but gave us time to get other opinions for comparison. I appreciated the low-pressure confidence his entire team displayed.

In fact, go ahead and print off this free questionnaire to bring with you to the different appointments so that you can ask similar questions of each doctor.

6. An office that has emergency after-hours options:

Brackets can pop off, cheeks can get stuck on poky wires, minor emergencies happen. It only happened to us one time early on and the Hull & Coleman team were available to get us back on track even after hours. 

RELATED: Don't eat these!: Foods to avoid with braces and yummy substitutions

Welcome to Hull & Coleman Orthodontists: Our girl's name is finally on the Braces Off Day sign.

7. Someone who understands that cosmetics are just as important as medical alignment when it comes to braces:

As a mom of a daughter, I believe it is super important to avoid criticizing my girl's physical appearance. Especially in front of her.

I was aware that her front teeth had "bumpy edges" but didn't want to subject her to cosmetic enhancements. I couldn't even imagine how anyone would correct it. I worried about bringing it up during her appointments because I didn't want her to feel bad. 

About half-way through our treatment, Dr. Hull approached me and very kindly explained that in the next few visits he'd be gradually buffing the ridges down to make them more smooth. I was BLOWN AWAY. First, I didn't realize that those ridges were totally normal. Second, I didn't know they could so easily be corrected. 

He knew that the final gorgeous smile we wanted would best be served with a little filing down of the teeth. I didn't even have to ask about it. And he explained it all right in front of my daughter in a way that never made her feel bad about that feature of her smile.

8. An office that understands the importance of colorful accessories for Tweens and teens:

Each visit, my daughter was able to choose a new color palette for the elastic bands that held the wire to her brackets. She would change them with the seasons and holidays or to show school spirit.

Being given the choice of colors for her braces gave her a sense of control over the experience that definitely cheered her up through the process. The staff was always cheery and never teased about her choices of colors.

9. An office that fosters a sense of responsibility over the braces in your child:

When your tween spends the majority of her day at school, you cannot oversee all the choices she makes. Someone brings in a chewy candy or other treat you shouldn't eat with braces: Will your kid say yes or no to having one??

Unless you plan to place the rubber bands in your child's mouth for them, you are going to have to trust that your kid does what is best to keep their braces in good shape and moving on target.

With each visit, the team at Hull & Coleman would talk directly to my daughter about what she needed to do over the next few weeks to keep things moving on plan. They had a wonderful knack of keeping her motivated with a mix of positive reinforcement and just enough cautious warning.

She understood the consequences she'd face if she didn't follow their instructions but they were completely empathetic when minor mistakes happened. 

10. A doctor who is a perfectionist:

I distinctly remember the visit about 6 months before the braces came off for good: Dr. Hull gave me an update on the progress. At that moment, the Peanut's teeth were nearly perfect as far as I could tell. They moved into proper position SO FAST it was unbelievable. 

Dr. Hull confirmed my suspicion--that we were nearing the end--but then he got a twinkle in his eye when he said:

"Now we're at my favorite part. We'll spend the next few months getting the teeth absolutely perfect and just nudging them exactly where they should be."

I could tell that he absolutely loves his job and that he knows what a difference a gorgeous smile makes for everyone. His attention to detail is fantastic and we simply couldn't be more thrilled with the results of his work.

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