Choosing the right orthodontist is crucial to your oral health and overall well-being. To ensure you receive the best care, it’s important to evaluate potential orthodontists based on several key factors. Here’s an in-depth guide to help you make an informed choice:

At Andrews Braces in Sparks, Nevada we use cutting edge technology. Left to right: Dr. Kevin, Dr Philip and Dr. Kat

1. Are They a Specialist?

Ensuring your orthodontist is a specialist is vital. While many dental practices offer orthodontic treatments, they may lack the expertise that comes with specialized training. Orthodontists undergo 2-3 additional years of residency training beyond dental school, focusing exclusively on diagnosing and treating dental and facial irregularities. Confirm your orthodontist’s credentials and background to ensure they have the specialized knowledge necessary for effective treatment. This training equips them to handle complex cases and provide the most effective and efficient treatments. All orthodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are orthodontists.

Dr. Kevin J. Andrews, for instance, received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Loma Linda Dental School in 1988 and practiced dentistry for two years before specializing in orthodontics. He is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists, a certified Diplomate of the National Board of Orthodontics, and a former President of the Nevada Orthodontic Association.

Questions to Ask:

  • What specific orthodontic training have you completed beyond dental school?
  • Are you board-certified by the American Board of Orthodontics?

2. Is Your Orthodontist Using the Latest Technology?

Orthodontic technology is rapidly evolving. Modern treatments often involve advanced machinery and techniques, such as intra-oral scanners, dental monitoring systems, and high-quality aligners and braces. When selecting an orthodontist, inquire about the technologies they use and their proficiency with these tools. Cutting-edge technology can significantly improve your treatment experience and outcomes. For instance, digital impressions are more comfortable than traditional molds and advanced imaging can provide a clearer picture of your dental structure for precise treatment planning.

Dr. Philip Rutkowski and Dr. Katharina Fung at Andrews Braces are known for their expertise in using the latest orthodontic technologies. Dr. Philip, a graduate of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, and Dr. Katharina, also from Tufts, have been recognized for their advanced treatment methods and use of innovative technologies in orthodontics.

Questions to Ask:

  • What kind of technology do you use in your practice?
  • How does this technology improve patient outcomes?

3. Does Your Orthodontist Offer Different Treatment Options?

Orthodontic treatment is not one-size-fits-all. Traditional metal braces are widely known, but clear aligners have gained popularity due to their discreet appearance and convenience. A good orthodontist should offer a range of treatment options and be open to discussing the best approach for your specific case. Whether you prefer conventional braces or a newer aligner system, your orthodontist should provide the options that best meet your needs. Additionally, inquire about other advanced options like ceramic braces, lingual braces (braces placed behind the teeth), and self-ligating braces.

Andrews Braces specializes in Damon Braces and Spark Clear Aligners, offering patients a variety of choices tailored to their specific needs.

A traditional braces bracket is shown in comparison to a Damon System bracketSpark clear aligners are shown

Questions to Ask:

  • What types of braces and aligners do you offer?
  • Can you explain the pros and cons of each treatment option?

4. Is Personalized Treatment with Good Communication Offered?

Effective communication is critical in orthodontic care. Look for a practice that emphasizes personalized treatment plans and maintains clear communication from all staff members. Each patient requires a customized approach, and it’s important to discuss your individual treatment plan with your orthodontist before starting. At Andrews Braces, we ensure every patient receives a personalized treatment plan tailored to their needs and preferences. This includes regular updates and adjustments as your treatment progresses.

Questions to Ask:

  • How do you develop personalized treatment plans?
  • How often will I have appointments, and what can I expect during these visits?

5. Is the Treatment Affordable, with Flexible Payment Plans?

Affordable care with flexible payment options is essential. It’s important to understand the financing options available and ensure they are transparent about any fees or costs. Andrews Braces provides in-house financing with 0% interest and no credit checks, ensuring a financial plan that fits your budget. Additionally, check if the practice works with your insurance provider and if they offer any discounts for paying upfront or for multiple family members. For example, Andrews Brace offers 5% off your balance when you pay in full, and a $150 credit when you refer a patient who starts!

Questions to Ask:

  • What financing options do you offer?
  • Are there any discounts or promotions currently available?

6. Is the Final Quote All-Inclusive? Are There Hidden Fees?

Orthodontic treatment is a significant investment. Ensure the final quote you receive is all-inclusive and inquire about any potential hidden fees. Some practices may offer a low initial quote but add costs for records, x-rays, and retainers later. Always ask for a detailed breakdown of all costs upfront to avoid surprises. Understanding the full cost of treatment helps you budget effectively and prevents any unexpected expenses.

Questions to Ask:

  • Is the initial quote all-inclusive?
  • Are there any additional costs I should be aware of during or after treatment?

7. What Reputation Does Your Orthodontist Have?

An orthodontist’s reputation is a strong indicator of their quality of care. Look for reviews and testimonials from other dental professionals and patients. Platforms like Google and Yelp provide insights into patient experiences and treatment outcomes. Dr. Kevin J. Andrews and his team at Andrews Braces have earned a stellar reputation, reflected in numerous positive reviews and accolades, such as being named the Best Orthodontist Office in Northern Nevada in 2023 and Best Orthodontist of Reno in 2024. Consider the number of reviews, their recency, and the specifics mentioned in them.

left to right: Aleta, Feather, Dr. Philip, Dr. Kat, Justin, Natalie and Melissa are standing in front of the Best of Reno background and red carpet

Questions to Ask:

  • Can you provide testimonials or references from past patients?
  • What professional accolades or awards has your practice received?

8. Do They Have a Passion for Helping You and Your Family?

An orthodontist’s passion for their work can greatly influence your treatment experience. Look for a practice that genuinely cares about your well-being and is dedicated to creating beautiful smiles. At Andrews Braces, our team is passionate about transforming lives one smile at a time, ensuring every aspect of your orthodontic experience is exceptional. A dedicated team will go above and beyond to ensure you are comfortable and satisfied with your treatment.

Questions to Ask:

  • What is your practice’s mission or philosophy?
  • How do you ensure patient comfort and satisfaction?

Meet the Team at Andrews Braces

Dr. Kevin J. Andrews: Dr. Kevin received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Loma Linda Dental School in 1988. He practiced dentistry for two years before returning to school to specialize in orthodontics. Dr. Kevin is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists, a certified Diplomate of the National Board of Orthodontics, and the former President of the Nevada Orthodontic Association.

Dr. Philip Rutkowski: Dr. Philip received his Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience from the University of Michigan and earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. He practiced as a general dentist before pursuing an advanced degree in Orthodontics at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.

Dr. Katharina Fung: Dr. Katharina received her Doctorate of Dental Medicine and a Certificate in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. She was awarded the Dr. Norman H. Diamond Endowed Prize for excellence in orthodontics. Dr. Katharina practiced in Chicago and was a faculty member at Midwestern University School of Dental Medicine before joining Andrews Braces in the Reno-Sparks area.

Contact Andrews Braces

Dr. Kevin J. Andrews and his associates, Dr. Philip Rutkowski and Dr. Katharina Fung are committed to providing personalized orthodontic care in the Reno-Sparks area. The practice specializes in Damon Braces and Spark Clear Aligners, and has been treating patients for over 31 years! Call (775)-674-1444 or email info@andrewsbraces.com for more information. To keep up with Andrews Braces on social media, check out our InstagramFacebookTikTok, and LinkedIn.

By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision and choose an orthodontist who will provide the highest quality of care for you and your family. If you’re in the Reno-Sparks area, visit Andrews Braces for a consultation and discover personalized, affordable, and innovative orthodontic care