5 Considerations When Choosing an Orthodontist in St. Louis

Posted on October 30, 2019

Knowing what questions to ask when choosing an orthodontist for you or child will make the process much easier and a lot less confusing. There are many ways to get a straight beautiful smile, but the road to get there can often times be overwhelming. Here are the top 5 questions to ask before starting orthodontic treatment:

1) Is the Orthodontist a trained Orthodontic Specialist?

Even though this may seem like an obvious question, it may be the most important one to ask. Orthodontists receive a Master of Orthodontics after completing their doctorate degree from dental school. While in specialty training, they complete several case studies that teach them how to correctly diagnose different types of cases.

This is specifically important to keep in mind nowadays, when DIY Orthodontics has become such a big trend (click here to learn more). Trained professionals are able to track your progress throughout orthodontic treatment, and know what to look for at different stages in the process.

Most Orthodontists are also members of the American Association of Orthodontists . Our own, Dr. James Galea, of Cardinal Orthodontics belongs to this group as well. This is the largest national organization of Orthodontic Specialists who have met their extra educational requirements.

2) Is the consultation complementary?

Another important question to ask when choosing an Orthodontist is whether or not they offer complimentary consultations. While each case is unique and different, many offices offer a free assessment of your teeth before getting started with braces or Invisalign. Why? This gives you the chance to learn about your treatment options as well as cost, before making a final decision.

Here at Cardinal Orthodontics, we offer in-office AND video consultations free of charge. That’s right! Meet with our doctor via Facetime or Skype to see if you’re a candidate for braces or Invisalign. Visit our website to learn more about these options! https://cardinalorthodontics.com/online-or-in-office-exam/

3) Are braces my only option?

Many people are not aware that they could benefit from Invisalign just as much as they can from braces. When choosing an Orthodontist, be sure to ask what all of your treatment options are. It’s important to educate yourself on what might work best for you and your lifestyle.

Cardinal Orthodontics is very proud to offer different types of orthodontic appliances to accommodate patients’ specific needs and wants.

Self ligating braces

Self ligating brackets look a lot like traditional metal brackets, but work a little differently. It has a specialized clip that opens and closes to hold the wire in place. These braces are usually the same size as traditional braces, but are a bit more simplistic to work with. They are very effective in the movement of teeth, and require fewer adjustments (therefore a shorter treatment time). With these types of brackets, you still have the option of choosing colored rubber bands – which everyone loves!

Ceramic braces

The option of ceramic braces may appeal to you when choosing an Orthodontist if you would like a less noticeable smile. These brackets are made of a clear material so they are less visible on your teeth. At Cardinal Orthodontics, these brackets do not cost any more than metal braces.

Ceramic brackets are only an option for the upper front teeth as they are a bit larger and more brittle than metal brackets.


Invisalign clear aligners are a series of invisible, removable, acrylic trays that straighten your teeth by shifting their position over time. Each week patients are provided with a new set of trays that are always a little bit different than the last set. Since Invisalign is removable, you will not have to alter what you eat or drink while in orthodontic treatment. The other advantage is you are able to brush and floss your teeth without any problems.

Cardinal Orthodontics is an Invisalign Diamond Plus Provider.

4) Do you accept Orthodontic insurance?

It’s important to know when choosing an orthodontist whether or not they accept orthodontic insurance. At Cardinal Orthodontics, we are in network with delta dental, but will file all major insurances. The day of your new patient exam, we will ask you to fill out insurance information so our team can verify your coverage. Our insurance team does all of the filing for you, making the process as easy as possible.

5) What are your Orthodontic office hours? Are they flexible?

Every Orthodontic office has different hours of availability. At Cardinal we are open each weekday from 8 am-5 pm, and close at 4 pm on Fridays. We do our best to work around each patient’s schedule, because we know how important it is to avoid missing time from school and work. However, on days when a child does miss school for their orthodontic appointment, we will always provide an excuse note for them to hand their teacher.

More Questions??

Don’t be afraid to ask questions when choosing an Orthodontist in St. Louis. Your smile is a lifelong investment that deserves your attention!

If you still have questions after reading our “Top 5 Questions to Ask When Choosing an Orthodontist” please do not hesitate to give our office a call at 314-962-6242.

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