If you don’t have a true understanding of the differences between orthodontic care and general dental care, you may believe these professionals are interchangeable. When it comes to braces or aligner treatments, orthodontists are highly trained with intensive experience. Orthodontists do much more work behind your smile than you may think!
While both dentists and orthodontists earn a bachelor’s degree as well as an advanced dental degree, orthodontists must complete a residency for the next 2 to 3 years in addition to dental school. Dentists may take workshops, classes and seminars in orthodontic training, while orthodontists are completely immersed in the authentic experience. This requires orthodontists to become more knowledgeable and experienced in their specialized area of expertise.
Though dentists sometimes prescribe Invisalign, dentists don’t receive extensive training in tooth movement and orthopedic changes. Orthodontists receive training in the structure of the smile, including the alignment of the teeth and jaws. They will study the entirety of a dental condition, including problematic bites (overbites, underbites, open bites, etc) and jaw misalignments. These specialists get to the root of the condition (no pun intended) through a comprehensive understanding of bone tendencies and bone growth as well as various structural conditions and their implications on your oral health.
Orthodontists are trained in identifying the benefits and uses of various orthodontic appliances. They know which appliance is best for you to achieve your goal with effectiveness and efficiency, and they’re able to explain why. With orthodontists’ extensive knowledge in the underlying structure of the smile, these professionals are able to create a customized plan based around your specific needs and future goals, while incorporating your current oral condition and unique infrastructure.
Orthodontists widen the realm of treatment and appliance possibilities for all patients. While dentists may prescribe Invisalign, orthodontists may suggest traditional braces, Invisalign® clear braces or other clear aligners based on your oral condition and specific goals.
Dentists will assist you with your general needs by assessing the condition of your oral health and promoting proper dental hygiene with general upkeep and semi-annual cleanings. Your orthodontist will provide you with personalized, specialized care, targeting bite problems and the alignment of your teeth. When it comes to moving your teeth, you’re better off choosing a specialist who has a thorough understanding of malocclusions, misalignments and associating conditions that determine a necessity for braces or aligner treatments. If you need a crown or filling, your general dentist is who you should see, not the orthodontist. That’s not what an orthodontist does every day. Moving your teeth and aligning your bite is what orthodontists do all day long; that makes them specialists.
Think about it, would you go to a primary care doctor for heart surgery? (Hopefully not.)