3 Questions to Ask When Choosing an Orthodontist

We want all of our Shine Orthodontics patients to feel empowered and informed through every step of their orthodontic journey, from their consultation to the last retainer check. Choosing to improve your oral health with orthodontic treatment is a big decision. This is your one and only smile, after all. Don’t trust it to just anyone, trust a qualified and experienced orthodontist. But what if you’re not sure how to go about finding one? To help you provide the right expert, here are 3 questions to ask when choosing an orthodontist. Let’s take a closer look at what you should know before committing to a particular practice!

Is the doctor a trained orthodontic specialist?

This is the most important to ask when exploring treatment with braces or clear aligner therapy. While this may seem like a given, it can determine the quality of your end result. That’s because some general dentists can also provide orthodontic treatment, even though they don’t specialize in it. 

Most general dentists offer standard 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 makes all the difference. 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 essentially dentists who also have several years of additional specialized training and experience. This means an orthodontist has:

  • Studied the growth and maturation of the teeth and jaw
  • Been introduced to numerous case studies
  • Developed diagnostic skills specific to orthodontic treatment
  • Learned biomechanical techniques to properly move teeth
  • Studied how to change the development of the dental alveolar complex and facial growth of younger patients

To give you an idea of how competitive orthodontic residency programs are, they only accept the top students in any dental school graduating class! These orthodontic programs last around 2-3 years and include full-time training that focuses on correcting orthodontic issues with braces and aligners. While there are exceptions to every rule, most dentists won’t possess this same level of exhaustive orthodontic training and experience. 

Dr. McGrogan completed her pre-dental studies at the University of Pittsburgh before continuing on at the University of Pittsburgh, School of Dental Medicine to earn her Doctorate of Dental Medicine. She then attended the University of Maryland and completed an additional 3 year Orthodontic Residency program and also received her Master of Science in Oral Biology.

Dr. McGrogan has over 17 years of experience as an orthodontist. She is proud to provide a full spectrum of orthodontic treatment to her patients at Shine Orthodontics. Dr. McGrogan stays at the leading edge of orthodontic treatments and advancements and exceeds the state-mandated continuing education requirements. You can be confident that you’re getting the best current treatment options.

She is a member of the following professional organizations: 

3 questions to ask when choosing an orthodontist

What treatment options does the orthodontist offer?

Shine Orthodontics has a wide variety of treatment options available to patients of all ages in Holly Springs and the surrounding communities. 

Metal braces

These are still the most widely used orthodontic appliances for children, and they’ve evolved quite a bit over the years to become much smaller and more comfortable. Metal braces usually made from a mix of stainless steel and other durable metals. 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. They’re popular with both teen and adult patients because they are less visible than traditional braces. 


The Invisalign system uses a series of customized, nearly invisible, removable aligners designed and prescribed by Dr. McGrogan according to your treatment needs and goals. 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 can’t offer. Designed to fit snugly but comfortably over your own teeth, treatment with Invisalign provides a more subtle and comfortable orthodontic experience. When worn the recommended 20-22 hours per day, and changed out as directed with the next aligner 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 unique features specific to the Invisalign Teen system, including compliance indicators, eruption tabs, and replacement aligners. 

How frequent are follow-up visits with the orthodontist?

No matter which excellent and effective treatment option you choose from Dr. McGrogan, you’ll be visiting our Holly Springs office to have your progress checked regularly. You can expect to see us for adjustment appointments every 4-8 weeks. During these visits, Dr. McGrogan will replace any worn-out rubber bands, check the progress your teeth are making, and make adjustments to the wires to ensure that the teeth are moving in the right direction. 

Invisalign patients may be seen slightly less frequently. However, these appointments are still an essential part of the orthodontic process, so you don’t want to miss them! 

While we can’t guarantee how long treatment will take because every case is different, on average, most people are in treatment between 6 and 24 months. You’ll be seeing us often throughout your orthodontic journey! We know how busy today’s families are, so we never overbook patients and always aim to see you at your scheduled time.

3 questions to ask when choosing an orthodontist

Don’t trust your smile to anything less than the best!

Dr. McGrogan has the education, experience and, and skill to create a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. If you’re ready to take the first step in your orthodontic journey, we would love to meet you and talk more about how we can help you achieve the smile you desire. There’s never been a better time to take the first step towards improved oral health, so get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. McGrogan!