Questions to Ask When Choosing an Orthodontist

The right start for your orthodontic journey begins with the right person. You want an expert who can provide you with the right information so you can have the confidence to move forward. There are a few important things to know when you arrive for your first appointment. Here at Central Virginia Orthodontics, we want you to find the right orthodontist, so we’ve compiled a list of questions for you to consider when choosing the person to trust your smile to. 

Is the doctor a trained orthodontic specialist?

This may seem like an obvious question, but it’s an important one to consider when seeking an orthodontic expert. This is because 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 alongside standard dental services such as cleanings, fillings, crowns, and dentures. An orthodontist, however, specializes exclusively in providing orthodontic services to patients. 

This distinction is very important. Think about it this way: Imagine if you or someone you loved had to receive a specialized surgery. Would you want to receive that surgery from a general physician, or a dedicated specialist who understands exactly what you need? The same should go for your orthodontic treatment. To guarantee the kind of quality orthodontic care you deserve, 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 can last around two to three years in addition to full-time training that focuses on correcting orthodontic issues with braces and aligners. With only some exceptions, most general dentists do not have this same level of in-depth orthodontic training and experience. Dentists are crucial for fundamental oral health maintenance. But for specialized orthodontic care, you want someone who knows the specifics of what you need. Central Virginia Orthodontics is prepared for whatever treatment you need. Dr. Jennifer Claiborne and Dr. Eric Baugher have been creating better smiles for their patients for decades, with the experience and skills to give you exceptional results. If you want a rewarding experience with the right personalized treatment, we’re here for you.

Here at Central Virginia Orthodontics, our lead orthodontists have the experience and education needed to provide you with exceptional results. Dr. Eric Baugher (rhymes with soccer) has practiced orthodontics since 2004 and is excited to be in Lynchburg. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics before graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry in 1999. He completed a General Practice Residency in Portsmouth, VA while serving as an active-duty dentist in the US Navy. He then spent two years working with the Marines of Camp Lejeune, NC.

Dr. Jennifer Claiborne has been practicing orthodontics since 2006 and is board-certified by the American Board of Orthodontics. Dr. Claiborne earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the College of William and Mary. She then graduated magna cum laude from the Medical College of Virginia School of Dentistry. She completed her orthodontic residency and post-doctoral master’s degree in clinical dentistry at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

What treatment options does the orthodontist offer?

Every patient has different needs, so your orthodontist must have exactly the treatment you’re looking for. At Central Virginia Orthodontics, we offer a variety of treatment options with up-to-date orthodontic technology so you can reach your goals. We offer three different treatments:

Metal Braces

Traditional metal braces are the common and widely 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. 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, polycrystalline ceramic material that is less noticeable than traditional metal braces. This is a popular choice for adults and older teens who want a more aesthetic look for their treatment. Clear braces do 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 strong oral hygiene routine. While clear braces can be pricier, 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, but you can remove them to eat, drink and brush your teeth. You will likely go through several trays throughout your treatment, but you will start to see results in only a few months.

How frequent are follow-up appointments with the orthodontist? 

While every patient’s follow-up schedule will vary depending on the orthodontic treatment plan, 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 of treatment, regular appointments with us are essential for your overall orthodontic process. When finding the right orthodontist, it’s important to find someone who knows what you need and adjust to your schedule so you can get results on your time.

The average process will take anywhere from eight to thirty-six months to achieve your perfect smile, but you can start seeing visible results as early as the first few months with most of our treatment plans. We know you’re busy, so just give us a heads up if you’re running late or need to reschedule. We value your time 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 with us.

Your smile comes first at Central Virginia Orthodontics

Choosing the right orthodontist is a big step on the road to a better smile. Central Virginia Orthodontics is ready to help you every step along the way. Our expert team and welcoming office are here to provide a personalized treatment plan to help you achieve your goals. Get in touch to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Baugher or Dr. Claiborne or to talk through your concerns with us! Your satisfaction is as important to us as your smile.

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