Questions to Ask When Choosing an Orthodontist

The first step to your orthodontic journey starts with finding the right expert to help you along the way. Your needs and goals are unique, and you need someone who knows what you want and how to get you there, with the right care and information to help you move forward with confidence. There are a few things to keep in mind when you walk into your first appointment. To help you out, Champlain Orthodontics has a few questions for you to ask when looking for an orthodontist that is compatible with you.

Is the doctor a trained orthodontic specialist?

This may seem obvious, but it’s an important thing to consider when seeking an orthodontic expert. Some general dentists provide orthodontic treatment, but this does not mean they specialize in it. These dentists may provide braces treatment and learn aligner therapy along with dental services such as cleanings, fillings, crowns, and dentures. An orthodontist, on the other hand, specializes exclusively in providing orthodontic services to patients.

This is an important distinction to make. Think about it the way you would think about receiving specialized surgery. Would you want you or someone you love to receive surgery from a general physician with broad surgical knowledge, or a dedicated specialist who understands exactly what you need? The same goes for your orthodontic treatment. To guarantee quality orthodontic care, you want a specialist. This means you want an orthodontist who has:

  • Studied the growth and maturation of 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 very competitive, accepting only the top students in any dental school graduating class. These orthodontic programs last around two to three years along with full-time training that focuses on correcting orthodontic issues with braces and aligners. Most general dentists do not have this same level of in-depth orthodontic training and experience. Dentists are essential for foundational oral health maintenance. But for specialized orthodontic care, you want someone who knows the specifics of what you need. Champlain Orthodontics knows this. Our team of well-trained, eager orthodontic experts has the experience and skills to give you exceptional results. If you want a rewarding experience with the right custom treatment, we’ve got you covered.

At Champlain Orthodontics, our lead orthodontists have the specialized training and experience to give you the best results possible. Dr. Daniel J. Ryan attended St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY. and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Dan attended the University of New York at Buffalo Dental School and received his Doctor of Dental Surgery. He was the president of the American Student Dental Association and was inducted into the OKU Dental Society. On top of that, he is also board-certified as a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontists. 

Dr. Elissa A. Eaton attended Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. She received her dental degree at the University of Connecticut where she received several awards, including the Alpha Omega Fraternity Award and the American Association of Orthodontists Award. Dr. Eaton completed her specialty training in orthodontics and her Masters of Science at SUNY at Buffalo.

What treatment options does the orthodontist offer?

Every patient has different needs and different preferences, so it’s important to know your orthodontist has exactly the treatment you’re looking for. At Champlain Orthodontics, we offer up-to-date treatment options with cutting-edge orthodontic technology so you can reach your smile goals. At our office, we offer three different treatments:

Traditional Metal Braces

Traditional metal braces are the most widely used and recognized type of fixed orthodontic appliance. While older models are known for being bulky, awkward, and painful, modern advancements have made metal braces lighter, smaller, and more comfortable. At your appointment, our team will collect photos and X-rays of your mouth to create a customized treatment plan for you based on the information we gather. Before applying the brackets, our team will collect photos and X-rays of your mouth. The brackets will be applied with oral-friendly glue before the wire is inserted. This option will help change the shape and curvature of the wire to move your teeth in the right direction.

Clear Braces

Also known as “ceramic braces,” clear braces are similar to metal braces with a more discreet appearance. The brackets are made from a tooth-colored ceramic material that gives them a sleeker appearance. This is a popular choice for adults and older teens who want a less noticeable appearance compared to metal braces. Clear braces require more care, as they can break easily and are prone to staining depending on your eating and drinking habits. But this can be combated with a good oral hygiene routine. Clear braces can be pricier. Luckily, we offer flexible payment plans, automatic bank drafts, and we will also check with your insurance company for orthodontic benefits. Our goal is to provide outstanding value for reasonable fees!


If you don’t want to deal with brackets and wires, Invisalign could be a more desirable alternative for you. This option comprises a series of invisible, removable acrylic trays that straighten your teeth by applying steady pressure on your teeth. You will need to wear them about 22 hours a day for them to be effective, although you can remove them to eat, drink and brush your teeth.

How frequent are follow-up appointments with the orthodontist? 

While the details of your follow-up schedule will vary depending on the orthodontic treatment plan you and our team decided is best for you, we will schedule most patients’ adjustment appointments for about every four to eight weeks. Patients using Invisalign may be seen slightly less frequently, but regardless, regular appointments with us are crucial for your overall orthodontic process. When seeking a compatible orthodontist, it’s important to find someone who knows what you need and won’t waste your time helping you get it.

The average process will typically take anywhere from one to three years to achieve your ideal smile, but you can begin seeing visible results as early as the first few months with our treatment plans. We know you’re busy, so just give us a heads up if you’re running late or need to reschedule. But don’t forget that your participation in the follow-up care is just as important. At our office, we want to work with you to make the most of your time, money, and treatment.

Choosing an orthodontist is a big step, and we’re here to make your orthodontic journey as smooth as possible. Our well-trained team is here to offer you a personalized treatment plan with exceptional results. 

Whether you are considering braces or already have an appointment, we’re here for you! Get in touch to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Ryan or Dr. Eaton or talk through your concerns with us! Your satisfaction is as important to us as your smile.