3 Questions To Ask When Choosing An Orthodontist

Here at Petrunic Orthodontics, we want our patients to feel informed and empowered from their first appointment to the last. After all, choosing to improve your oral health with orthodontic treatment is a big decision! As an educated patient, you’ll know that your smile is too important to trust to anything less than an experienced orthodontist. But what if you’re not sure how to find one? To help you get started on your orthodontic journey, we’ve put together this list of 3 questions to ask when choosing an orthodontist in order to make the most informed decision on your care.

Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know before committing to an orthodontic practice for treatment!

Is the doctor a trained orthodontic specialist?

It may seem obvious, but this is actually 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 orthodontic treatment, even though they don’t specialize in it. 

A general dentist will usually offer common dental services, including crowns, fillings, dentures, and occasional orthodontic treatment such as Invisalign. An orthodontist, however, spends their days committed to providing only orthodontic services.

This distinction actually matters a great deal. 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 are, at their core, dentists who have also undergone several years of additional specialized training and experience. 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 bio-mechanical techniques to properly move teeth
  • studied how to change the development of the dental alveolar complex and facial  growth of younger patients

To give you an idea of how competitive orthodontic residency programs are, they only accept the top students from any dental school’s graduating class. That’s a big deal! These orthodontic programs tend to last around 2-3 years and include full-time training that focuses on correcting orthodontic issues with braces and aligners. While there are certainly exceptions to every rule, most dentists will not possess the same level of exhaustive orthodontic training and experience. 

Dr. Chris Petrunic is an orthodontist with training and restorative experience like no other! He spent 11 years training to pursue his dream of becoming an orthodontist. When Dr. Petrunic is treating you, you can feel confident that you’re receiving high-quality care and the attention to detail your smile deserves! 

Dr. Petrunic is committed to giving patients of all ages in Prattville and the surrounding communities access to the newest and latest orthodontic treatments and technology. Dr. Petrunic and his entire team regularly attend continuing education courses in order to achieve this goal and provide healthy, beautiful smiles that last!


What treatment options does the orthodontist offer?

Petrunic Orthodontics has a wide variety of aesthetic treatment options available to patients in Prattville and the surrounding areas, including clear braces and clear aligners.

Traditional Metal Braces

Traditional metal braces are the most common type of braces here at Petrunic Orthodontics. Thanks to today’s technology, braces are more comfortable than they’ve ever been 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

Sometimes called ceramic braces, these function in the same way metal braces do, but are made of clear materials instead of stainless steel. Because they are less visible than traditional braces, clear braces are popular with older teens and adult patients who may be more image-conscious. They are larger and more brittle than their metal counterparts, so we tend to use them on the upper front teeth more often than the lower teeth. 

Clear aligners

Clear aligners are removable orthodontic appliances that use a series of customized aligners to straighten the teeth. Since the aligners are clear and can be removed, patients can eat and drink as they normally would, plus brushing and flossing effectively is easier to achieve. The aligners are custom-made to fit snugly but comfortably over the patient’s own teeth. 

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 for every 4-8 weeks or so in the office location most convenient for you. During these visits, Dr. Petrunic will replace any worn-out rubber bands, check the progress your teeth are making, and make adjustments to the wires to ensure that the teeth are moving in the right direction. 

Patients wearing clear aligners are typically seen slightly less frequently, but these appointments are still an essential part of the orthodontic process, so you don’t want to miss them. 

While treatment time will always vary from case to case, the average patient will spend anywhere from 12-36 months in treatment. You’ll be seeing us regularly throughout your orthodontic journey! We know families these days are busy, and we value your time, so we never overbook patients and always aim to see you at your scheduled time.

doctor with patient

Leave your smile to the experts at Petrunic Orthodontics

If you’re looking for the best in orthodontic care, Dr. Chris Petrunic is unmatched in skill, expertise, and the attention to detail he offers every patient. Since his sole specialty is orthodontics, you’ll receive nothing but the best when it comes to treatments, cost, and efficiency as we work together to help you achieve a stunning smile that’s unforgettable!

If you’re ready to take the first step in your orthodontic journey, we would love to meet you and talk more about your smile goals! There’s never been a better time to take the first step towards a healthier smile, so get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Petrunic!