3 Questions To Ask When Choosing An Orthodontist

Making the choice to improve your oral health and straighten your smile with orthodontic treatment is a big decision! You wouldn’t want to trust your teeth to anything less than an experienced orthodontic practice, but you may not be sure where to start. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 3 questions to ask when choosing an orthodontist!

Here at Christian Manley Orthodontics, we want you to feel empowered and educated from your initial consultation to the moment you see your brand new smile! Keep reading below for a more detailed look at what you should know before committing to an orthodontic practice for your treatment!

Are you seeing a trained orthodontic specialist?

While this might seem like a pretty obvious question, it’s probably the most important one you can ask when contemplating braces or clear aligner therapy. That’s because some dentists are also able to provide some orthodontic treatment, although they don’t specialize in it. In most cases, a general dentist will offer common dental services such as crowns, fillings, dentures, and occasional orthodontic treatment like Invisalign. An orthodontist, on the other hand, spends their days providing only orthodontic services. 

This distinction is incredibly important. 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 dentists who also have several years of additional specialized training and experience in orthodontics. That means an orthodontist has:

  • studied the growth and maturation of the 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

Because orthodontic residency programs are extremely competitive, only the top students in any dental school graduating class are accepted. These orthodontic programs tend to last around 2-3 years, with full-time training that focuses on correcting orthodontic issues with braces and aligners. While there are always exceptions to every rule, most dentists will not possess this level of exhaustive orthodontic training and experience.

Dr. Christian Manley attended Walla Walla University where he completed his pre-dental education. Upon graduation, Dr. Manley went on to receive his Doctor of Dental Surgery, Bachelor of Science in Human Biology, and Master’s degree in Orthodontics at Loma Linda University

As the field of orthodontics is always changing, Dr. Manley and the entire Manley Orthodontics team regularly attend continuing education courses. This gives them everything necessary to give you the most comfortable treatment options with the best results. Dr. Manley is also a member of the following organizations:

Here at Christian Manley Orthodontics, our only focus is orthodontic care and treatment. Dr. Manley performs teeth straightening procedures daily and our entire team is trained to give you the highest quality orthodontic care available. Dr. Manley has also equipped our Sammamish and Issaquah offices with the latest in orthodontic equipment in order to better serve our patients. Manley Orthodontics is committed to providing you with the best in individualized orthodontic care!


What treatment options do you have available?

Dr. Manley is proud to offer a wide variety of orthodontic treatments to patients of all ages, including traditional metal braces and clear aligner therapy with Invisalign. 

Metal braces

Traditional metal braces are still the most popular orthodontic appliance and they have come a long way in recent years! They are 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.

Metal braces are a reliable, effective, and economical option. They’re also more comfortable and customizable than ever before. With smaller, lighter brackets and a multitude of colored bands to choose from, metal braces are a perfect fit for any personality!

Clear Braces

Also known as ceramic or aesthetic braces, these work like metal braces but are made of clear materials and therefore a more subtle option. For this reason, ceramic braces are used mainly on older teenagers and adult patients who have cosmetic concerns. While they are less visually prominent, they do require more attention to oral hygiene as ceramic braces are larger and are more brittle than their metal counterparts. For these reasons, ceramic braces tend to be used more on upper front teeth than on 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 patients a measure of freedom and flexibility that traditional braces just can’t beat. Designed to fit snugly but comfortably over your own teeth, Invisalign provides a more subtle and comfortable orthodontic experience. When worn the recommended 20-22 hours per day, and changed out weekly with the next in the set, these aligners will gradually move your teeth into the desired positions.

Invisalign Teen

Although Invisalign and Invisalign Teen work the same way when it comes to the underlying technology, Invisalign Teen was designed with the unique needs of teen patients in mind. There are a few special features that are specific to the Invisalign Teen 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, keeping the overall process moving along according to your treatment plan.

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!

How frequent are follow-up visits in the office?

Whatever your treatment plan, regular visits with your orthodontist should be expected. For patients in braces, adjustment appointments will typically be scheduled every 4-6 weeks or so. During these visits, Dr. Manley will check your teeth’s progress, replace any worn-out rubber bands, and make any necessary adjustments to the wires to ensure the teeth are being pulled in the right direction. Invisalign patients may be seen slightly less frequently, but these appointments are just as essential to the orthodontic process. 

Although treatment time varies from case to case, the average patient will spend anywhere from 1-3 years in braces or aligners. Be prepared to see us regularly! We know how busy our families are, and your time is valuable to us. That’s why Manley Orthodontics will never overbook patients and always aims to see you at your scheduled time!


Expertise you can trust at Manley Orthodontics

If you’re looking for an expert orthodontist and a team with world-class skill, you can’t do better than Christian Manley Orthodontics! You’ll receive a personalized treatment plan and unmatched care from your first appointment to your last. Since his sole specialty is orthodontics, Dr. Manley has the expertise and experience necessary to give you nothing but the best in treatments, cost, and efficiency as you work to straighten your smile. 

If you’re ready to take the first step in your orthodontic journey, our team would love to meet you! When you schedule your FREE consultation with our office, you’ll receive a thorough examination by Dr. Manley. He’ll discuss any diagnosis with you and go over the best way to move forward. This is a no-pressure appointment! Even if you choose not to pursue orthodontic treatment right away, we’ll gladly answer any questions or address any concerns you may have in order to help you make the best decision for your smile.

There’s never been a better time to go after the smile you’ve always dreamed of so get in touch today to schedule your complimentary consultation!