About one-third of all Americans are unhappy with the way their teeth look, and this has a major impact on confidence. If you aren’t happy with your smile, you might not feel good about your appearance, which can lower the quality of your life.

Sound dramatic?

It’s true.

Getting simple oral treatments, such as braces, can give you self-esteem a boost and improve your performance at work, your social relationships, and just your everyday life. But how do you go about getting braces? Do you need a dental referral first?

We’ve put together this guide to help you answer some of these questions. Make sure you keep reading below to learn how to get a referral for braces and what to expect from your first visit with an orthodontist.

Visit Your Dentist

If you want to get braces and aren’t sure where to start, all you have to do is visit your dentist. They can refer you to an orthodontist.

In fact, many dentists will recommend getting braces if you need them before you even bring them up. So as long as you’re making regular visits to your dentist, you won’t have a hard time making the transition to an orthodontist.

How to Find a Dentist in Your Area

Don’t have a primary dentist?

It’s a good idea to find one and get established with them first. An orthodontist won’t be able to give you braces if you have any pre-existing oral health problems, such as tooth decay. Finding a primary dentist will ensure your teeth are healthy, which will give you the best results from your braces.

Here are the steps you should follow when searching for a new dentist.

Talk to Friends and Family 

Start by asking your friends and family which dentist they visit. They should be able to give you a few recommendations, and since you already trust the people you love, you can feel comfortable and confident setting up an appointment with those dentists.

Hit up Google 

If you just moved to a new area and don’t know many local people yet (or if they just don’t have any recommendations for you), you can also search for “dentists near me” in Google. This should give you several options to choose from, but don’t pick the top result and call it good.

Instead, you should scroll through different websites and put together a list of your top three to five choices. As you continue to do research, you can narrow this list down to your favorite dentist.

Read Reviews 

Visit a third-party website, such as Yelp, to get an inside look at how each dentist treats their patients. While you should expect to see a few negative reviews (it’s impossible to please everyone), stay away from dentists that have a lot of bad reviews.

Schedule a Consultation

Set up an initial consultation with one or two dentists. During this appointment, make sure you learn more about the dentist and ask plenty of questions, such as “How much experience do you have?”, “Do you have the proper licensing and insurance?”, “Do you accept my insurance?”, “What type of treatment do you recommend for me?”.

Most importantly, you want to feel comfortable with any dentist you visit. If you don’t feel at ease in the chair—no matter how skilled the dentist is, you may want to keep looking for a better fit.

Don’t Settle for Cheapest Choice 

It’s a bad idea to pick the cheapest dentist you find just because you want to save money. If a dentist charges next-to-nothing, they probably won’t offer quality services. Spending a bit of extra money is worth the healthier teeth that come with it.

Do You Need a Dental Referral to See an Orthodontist?


Most orthodontists don’t require a dental referral. You can simply find an orthodontist in your area (by following the same steps above), set up an appointment, and get started on your treatment.

But that doesn’t mean you should skip the dentist and go straight to the orthodontist. Remember, an orthodontist won’t be able to give you braces until your teeth are healthy. So if you have cavities or other oral health issues, an orthodontist will actually send you to a dentist first anyway.

What to Expect From Your First Orthodontist Appointment

You won’t get your braces during your first visit with the orthodontist.

Instead, the orthodontist will take a look at your teeth and measure their spacing. After this, they’ll talk to you about the placement of your teeth, what type of braces will work best for you, and how long the treatment will take. They’ll put together a plan then, during your next appointment, you can get your braces.

You should use this first appointment to talk about any questions or concerns you have about the process.

For example, are you worried that getting braces will hurt? Bring it up with the orthodontist. They will be able to explain what to expect and help you deal with any anxiety. (Also, you won’t feel any pain when getting braces, so don’t worry!)

Straighten Your Smile Today

Are you ready to get braces and straighten your teeth? Whether you have a dental referral or not, you shouldn’t hesitate to set up an appointment with our office. Give us a call at (405) 321-1926 today or reach out through our website.

We are looking forward to being by your side as you transform your smile (and boost your confidence!).

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