A Day in The Life of an Orthodontist | Dr. Ana Castilla | National Nutrition Month

A Day in The Life of an Orthodontist

One question I get quite often is about what my day is like as an orthodontist. The truth is, every day is different, which is one of the things I love about my job, but there are some things that are the same day-to-day. With that in mind, what follows is a look at a typical day for me at my practice, Castilla Orthodontics.

First, Talk with My Team

Before the doors open to our first patients, my team and I take some time to first talk over what’s coming up that day and any other issues that need attention. We get the office ready to greet the patients and make it as welcoming as possible.

The front desk staff, administrative staff, orthodontic assistants, and everyone else who works at Castilla Orthodontics are a very important part of what makes the patient experience exceptional, and I’m so grateful to work with such an amazing collection of people.

Then Treat Patients!

The bulk of the day is spent working with different patients and helping them at whatever point they’re at in their orthodontic journey.

We often have new patients, both children and adults, who are visiting the orthodontist for the first time. Maybe they’ve been referred to by their dentist, maybe there’s something they dislike about their smile and they know they want to fix it, or maybe they just want more information. Whatever brought them in, my team and I do everything we can to make them feel at home and take them through that first visit step by step. We take photos and X-rays and I do an oral exam to see what’s going on inside the mouth. Then we discuss possible treatment options, as well as how much treatment will cost and how long it will take.  

If that new patient does want to move forward with braces, they typically get them on that same day! For patients being treated with Invisalign, they come back for their first set of aligners and to have attachments bonded to their teeth that allow the aligners to snap into place securely. This can be a long visit but it’s an exciting one; it’s the first step in what will be a very rewarding journey.

For my patients who are in the middle of their treatment, a visit may mean fixing a problem like an uncomfortable wire or a bracket that’s popped off the surface of the tooth. Or it could be a routine check to make sure things are on track. Sometimes it’s necessary to adjust treatment plans as we follow along with the patient’s progress over the months.

Of course, at some appointments I have the joy of taking a patient’s braces off. Seeing a patient look in the mirror at a straight, healthy smile smiling back at them for the first time is an incredible moment. Whether they needed a lot of work done or just a few teeth straightened, I know the change is profound and will last a lifetime.

Educating Patients

In addition to fitting, adjusting, and removing braces and other appliances, my staff and I also spend a significant amount of time talking with our patients. We tell them exactly what’s happening every step of the way so they understand what is going on and why. We teach them how to brush and floss with braces on. We give them advice on how to care for their braces and their teeth in order to keep treatment on track and get their braces off as soon as possible. If the patient is young, we’ll talk to the parent, too, since they’re an important part of their child’s successful treatment.

I also like to talk to our patients about food. What goes in the mouth has a big effect on oral health and can affect treatment with braces, too. In general, foods that are bad for you, like sugary foods, are bad for your teeth, and vice versa. Healthy foods like produce, nuts, legumes, and dairy are not only good for your body but good for your teeth, too. Together, we talk about what foods are best and what foods to avoid during orthodontic treatment. (For more info on healthy eating, check out these resources for National Nutrition Month, which happens to be this month!)

At Some Point During the Day

I don’t have patients scheduled back-to-back every day. This means there are typically times throughout the day when I can attend to other things that need to be done, such looking at scans and computer simulations in order to come up with treatment plans; taking care of necessary paperwork and updating patient notes; reading up on developments in the field and learning about new products, techniques, and technology; and eating lunch at some point in the middle of the day!

On busy days when I don’t have time to get to everything at the office, I’ll usually take my work home with me so I can stay on top of things.

Ending the Day

The day doesn’t end when the last patient leaves; there are still things to do. I finish putting in notes on the patients I’ve seen that day, and my team and I discuss anything important that happened that day and what’s on tap for tomorrow. Then we leave, lock up, and go home to our families, all before coming back the next day and doing it all over again!

So there you have it, that’s an overview of my Day in the Life. It’s a busy life, but a wonderfully rewarding one and I wouldn’t change it for anything.