3 Questions To Ask When Choosing An Orthodontist

Choosing to pursue orthodontic treatment to straighten your smile and improve your oral health is a big decision! You don’t want to trust your orthodontic care to anything less than a trained and experienced orthodontist and their team, but you may not be sure where to start. Here at Seabreeze Orthodontics, we want you to feel empowered and informed from the start of your orthodontic journey to the very end! That’s why we’ve put together a list of 3 questions to ask when choosing an orthodontist in order to make the best choice for your care. 

To find out more about what you should know before committing to a practice for orthodontic treatment, keep reading below!

Are you seeing a trained orthodontic specialist?

This might feel like an obvious question, but it’s probably the most important thing you can ask when choosing someone for your orthodontic treatment! That’s because some general dentists are also able to provide some basic orthodontic treatment, even though it isn’t their specialty. A general dentist will typically offer common dental services and procedures such as crowns, dentures, fillings, and the occasional orthodontic treatment, like clear aligner therapy. However, an orthodontist spends their days dedicated to only providing orthodontic services. 

This distinction is very 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 have spent several years undergoing additional specialized training and education 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

Orthodontic residency programs are incredibly competitive, so only the top students from any dental school’s graduating class are accepted. These orthodontic programs tend to last around 2-3 years, with full-time training that is focused on correcting orthodontic issues using braces, aligners, and other orthodontic treatment methods. While there are exceptions to every rule, most general dentists will not possess this level of exhaustive orthodontic training and experience. 

After completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology at Francis Marion University, Dr. Juan Faja-Fernandez attended the Medical University of South Carolina. There he earned his Doctorate of Dental Medicine as well as his Certificate in Orthodontics. 

Dr. Juan is a firm believer in continuing education in order to stay up-to-date with the latest in orthodontic treatments and techniques, so he attends courses regularly on local and national levels. He’s also a member of the following organizations:

Here at Seabreeze Orthodontics, our only focus is your orthodontic care and treatment. Dr. Juan performs teeth straightening procedures daily, and our entire team attends continuing education courses to stay aware of the latest developments in the field of orthodontics. Dr. Juan has also equipped our Myrtle Beach office with the most current orthodontic equipment available in order to give our patients the high-quality care they deserve. Dr. Juan is dedicated to giving you the best orthodontic experience possible!

Seabreeze drJuan and assistant with patient

What treatment options do you have available?

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

Metal braces

Traditional metal braces continue to be the most widely used orthodontic appliance, and 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 work together to gently guide your teeth into the desired positions over time.

Metal braces are a reliable, effective, and affordable 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 every personality!


The Invisalign clear aligner system is made up of a series of plastic trays customized to your unique smile 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 developed 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 Dr. Juan with 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!

Specialized services

Dr. Juan spent additional time during his education focusing on craniofacial orthodontics, one of the nine subspecialties of the field. This area of focus is dedicated to correcting birth defects such as cleft lip and palate. Patients who have these conditions can trust that Dr. Juan will give them the dedicated and compassionate care they deserve.  

How frequent are follow-up visits in the office?

Whatever treatment option you choose, you can expect relatively frequent visits with Dr. Juan and the Seabreeze Orthodontics team. For patients in braces, adjustment appointments will typically be scheduled every 4-6 weeks or so. During these visits, Dr. Juan will check on the progress of your teeth, replace any worn-out rubber bands, and make any necessary adjustments to the wires and brackets to keep your treatment progressing as planned. Invisalign patients are seen slightly less often, but these appointments are just as important for the process, so do it’s important to keep them!

Since every patient is different and responds to treatment in their own way, there’s no “one size fits all” answer as to how long treatment will take. However, the average patient spends anywhere from 1-3 years in braces or aligners. Be prepared to see us regularly! We understand that life is busy and we value your time. That’s why we never overbook appointments and always aim to see you at your scheduled time!

3 Questions To Ask When Choosing An Orthodontist

Expertise you can trust at Seabreeze Orthodontics

For an optimal orthodontic experience, you can’t do better than Dr. Juan and the team at Seabreeze Orthodontics! You’ll receive a completely individualized treatment plan and unmatched care from your initial consultation to the day you get your braces off. Since his sole specialty is orthodontics, Dr. Juan has the expertise and experience necessary to give you the best in treatment options, cost, and efficiency as you work to straighten your smile. 

If you’re ready to get started on your journey to a straighter, healthier smile, we would love to meet you! When you schedule your FREE initial consultation at Seabreeze Orthodontics, you’ll receive a thorough examination from Dr. Juan. He’ll go over any diagnosis with you and outline what your next steps should be. This is a completely no-pressure appointment! Even if you decide not to pursue 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 needs. 

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