What To Ask Before Choosing An Orthodontist

If you’ve decided to take the first steps towards improving your smile with orthodontic treatment, there’s a lot to consider. You may not even be sure where to start! Finding an experienced orthodontist who listens to your concerns is the best place to begin, but with so many providers, how will you know which one is right for you? Hall & Koppel Hot Springs Orthodontics is here to help! Knowing which questions to ask before choosing a prospective orthodontist will help you make a well-informed decision, so we’ve made a list of what you should ask before committing to treatment with any practice. Keep reading below to learn more! 

“Are you a trained orthodontist?”

In the last several years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of general dentists offering certain orthodontic treatments alongside common dental services like crowns, fillings, and dentures. Clear aligners are the most obvious example of this. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a dentist advertising teeth-straightening services, of course, but there are some significant differences between dentists and orthodontists that you should be aware of. 

Many people mistakenly believe the two are interchangeable, and it’s true that their paths are similar up to a certain point. However, orthodontists have completed years of additional education and training after finishing dental school. They study the growth and maturation of children, learn biomechanical techniques to successfully move the teeth, develop their diagnostic skills, and have the chance to work on numerous case studies during this time. Quite a lot goes into becoming an orthodontist! 

Take our own doctors, for instance. Dr. Hall earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry before completing a general practice residency through Ole Miss and the VA hospital in Jackson, Mississippi. He was then accepted into the orthodontic program at Louisiana State University, where he received his Certificate to practice orthodontics. Dr. Koppel earned his dental degree from Northwestern University Dental School, then served in the U. S. Army as a dental officer before enrolling at Baylor College of Dentistry to specialize in orthodontics. 

Our doctors have decades of combined experience and are known for their skilled and gentle care. When you choose our practice, you’ll be putting your smile into the most capable orthodontic hands around. 

“What treatment options are available to me?”

Our state-of-the-art office is proud to offer a wide range of affordable treatment options to suit any patient’s unique needs. Let’s take a closer look at each one!

Metal braces

Traditional metal braces are the most widely used orthodontic appliance and have had a pretty impressive makeover in modern years. They’re typically made of a mix of high-grade stainless steel, nickel, and other durable metals. Bands wrap around the back molars, and smaller metal brackets are cemented to the front surfaces of the other teeth. There is also a thin, springy metal wire that runs through the brackets, which may be fixed to the brackets by flexible elastics, metal ties, or another type of clasp. All of these components come together to gently guide your teeth into the desired positions over time.

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, they’re 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. 


The Invisalign system is made up of a series of customized aligners that are nearly invisible and completely removable. Unlike traditional braces, no brackets and wires are needed to move the teeth. This offers an additional measure of freedom and flexibility that patients love! Designed to fit snugly but comfortably over your own teeth, Invisalign provides a more subtle and comfortable orthodontic experience. When worn as directed, the clear aligners will gradually move your teeth into more optimal positions. 

Invisalign for Teens

Although Invisalign and Invisalign for Teens work the same way when it comes to the underlying technology, Invisalign for Teens was developed with the unique needs of teen patients in mind. There are a few special features that are specific to this system, including the following.

Compliance indicators

To help teens stick to their treatment plan, Invisalign Teen has a compliance indicator incorporated into each aligner. This will fade from blue to clear as it is used, providing a visual approximation of wear. This lets patients, parents, and orthodontists keep track of patient use. If a teen is skipping out on hours, it will be noticeable in enough time for us to correct compliance, thus keeping the overall process moving along at the right pace.

Eruption tabs

This feature accommodates the growth of the second molars in young adults, helping to keep space open for unerupted teeth and making it possible to treat a wider range of conditions with Invisalign.

Replacement aligners

We all lose or damage things from time to time. While we encourage all of our Invisalign patients to be careful with their aligners, teens don’t need to worry about misplacing or losing one. Invisalign Teen anticipates it happening, and provides up to six replacement aligners at no charge, just in case!

“Do you offer a complimentary consultation?”

Every smile is unique, and not all types of braces are appropriate for every case. That’s why many orthodontic practices will provide a free assessment of your smile before beginning the treatment process. At Hall & Koppel Hot Springs Orthodontics, you’ll receive a complimentary consultation that includes digital photographs and x-rays of the teeth, an orthodontic exam, and a discussion about the available treatment options based on your individual diagnosis. This gives our doctors all the information they need to make a diagnosis and create a personalized treatment plan for you.

Trust your smile to the experts at Hall & Koppel Hot Springs Orthodontics

Making big decisions can be stressful, but choosing an orthodontist doesn’t have to be! If you’re looking for a positive orthodontic experience from start to finish, you’ve come to the right place—our expert team is committed to providing patients of all ages with the highest-quality care, world-class customer service, and top-of-the-line technology. To find out more about how our team can transform your smile, get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Hall or Dr. Koppel!