3 questions to ask when choosing an orthodontist

Here at McGrory Orthodontics, we believe that educated patients make the best partners in any orthodontic journey! It’s our goal to help you feel empowered and informed from your initial consultation to your last appointment. We know making the choice to improve your oral health with orthodontic treatment is a big decision, and your smile is too important to trust to anyone other than an experienced orthodontist. But what if you’re not sure where to start? To help you begin your orthodontic journey, we’ve put together this list of 3 questions to ask when choosing an orthodontist for your braces or clear aligner treatment. 

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

Is the doctor a trained orthodontic specialist?

While this may seem pretty obvious, this is probably the most important question you can ask when exploring your options for braces treatment or clear aligner therapy. That’s because some general dentists are also able to provide basic orthodontic treatment even though they don’t specialize in it. 

A general dentist will usually offer common dental services such as fillings, dentures, crowns, and the occasional orthodontic treatment like Invisalign®. On the other hand, an orthodontist spends their time providing only orthodontic services.

This distinction is incredibly important. Imagine for a moment that you or your child required specialized treatment or surgery. Would you feel comfortable with your family physician handling your case, or would you prefer a dedicated specialist? Orthodontists have undergone several years of additional specialized training and experience beyond general dentistry. This means 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, accepting only the top students from any dental school’s graduating class. These orthodontic programs tend to last around 2-3 years and include full-time training that focuses on correcting orthodontic issues using braces and aligners. As with any rule, there are some exceptions, however; most dentists will not possess this same level of exhaustive orthodontic training and experience.

Dr. Kathleen McGrory spent 11 years gaining the education and experience necessary to become an orthodontist. After she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Political Science from the University of Missouri, she went on to study dentistry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, where she received her Doctorate of Dental Science and was inducted into Omicron Kappa Upsilon dental honor society, then continued training in her Orthodontic Specialty program at Houston. 

Today, Dr. McGrory is board-certified, an achievement only reached by 30% of orthodontists. She also serves as a diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics and is a faculty member at the University of Texas Health Science Center of Houston. Her commitment to continuing education and sharing her knowledge with others in her field helps her continue to provide her patients with high-quality orthodontic care!


What treatment options does the orthodontist offer?

McGrory Orthodontics is proud to offer a wide variety of orthodontic treatments to patients of all ages in Pearland, Bellaire, and the surrounding communities including traditional metal braces and clear aligner therapy.

Traditional metal braces

Traditional metal braces are the most common type of braces here at McGrory Orthodontics. Thanks to advances in modern technology, today’s braces are more comfortable than ever before. Made of high-grade stainless steel, metal braces straighten your teeth using metal brackets and archwires. With metal braces, you have the option of adding colored elastics (rubber bands) for a more unique and colorful smile.

Clear braces

Also known as ceramic or aesthetic braces, these work just like metal braces but are made of clear materials and therefore offer a more subtle treatment option. For this reason, clear braces are used mainly on older teenagers and adult patients who have cosmetic concerns. While they are visually less prominent, they do require more attention to oral hygiene as ceramic braces are larger and are more brittle than their metal counterparts. For these reasons, ceramic braces tend to be used more on upper front teeth than on lower teeth.

Invisalign clear aligners

Invisalign clear aligner therapy uses a series of invisible, removable, and comfortable acrylic trays that straighten your teeth like braces. Not only are the aligners invisible, but they are also removable, so you can eat and drink what you want throughout your treatment, plus brushing and flossing are less of a hassle. Clear aligners are comfortable and have no metal wires or brackets to cause mouth abrasions during treatment.

How frequent are follow-up visits with the orthodontist?

Whatever treatment option you choose, you can expect relatively frequent visits to your orthodontist. For most patients, adjustment appointments will be scheduled every 6-10 weeks or so in the office location most convenient for you. During these visits, Dr. McGrory or Dr. McCarty will check the progress your teeth are making, replace any worn-out rubber bands, and make any necessary adjustments to the wires to ensure your teeth are being directed to the right position. 

Patients in clear aligners may be seen slightly less frequently, but these appointments are still an essential part of the orthodontic process!

While treatment times will vary from case to case, on average, patients will spend anywhere from 9-36 months in treatment. You should be prepared to see us regularly! We know your family is busy, and we value your time, so we never overbook patients and always aim to see you at your scheduled time.


Trust your smile to the experts at McGrory Orthodontics

If you’re looking for an optimal orthodontic experience, look no further than McGrory Orthodontics! Dr. McGrory, Dr. McCarty, and their expert team are highly qualified in skill, expertise, and the level of care they provide to every single patient. Since our sole specialty is orthodontics, you can feel confident that you’ll receive only the best in treatments, cost, and efficiency as we work together to enhance your smile. 

If you’re ready to learn more about starting your orthodontic journey with McGrory Orthodontics, we would love to meet you and talk more about your smile goals! There’s never been a better time to start your smile transformation, so contact our office today to schedule your FREE consultation

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