Difference between Orthodontists and Dentists
The difference between an orthodontist and a general dentist is the additional education and specialized training an orthodontist receives while in a post graduate residency program. All dentists receive similar dental training while attending dental school and receive their dental degree (DDS or DMD). Orthodontists continue their education and specialty training in an accredited residency program in orthodontics for an additional two to three years. These extensive programs involve classroom and clinical training to learn how the use braces, aligners, and other dental appliances to safely and effectively apply precise forces that result in the movement and desired repositioning of teeth. Mastering the skills needed for proper diagnosis and treatment planning enable orthodontists to not only improve the look of your smile, but also the alignment of the upper and lower jaws and the health and longevity of your overall bite, or occlusion.
A general dentist can attend continuing-education seminars in order to safely offer orthodontic services as a sideline to their primary dental care. Only your dentist knows what he or she feels qualified to do well, however, with so much riding on the quality of your treatment, choosing an orthodontic specialist ensures that you will get the best possible results. Like medical specialists who continue to study their areas of expertise after their general medical school education, orthodontists devote additional years of study to orthodontics after they graduate from dental school. And like their medical counterparts, orthodontists limit their practices to their specialty area. Orthodontists have in- depth experience in orthodontic care and use their knowledge and skill to help you get the best result possible.
Recommending the right treatment
There are a lot of treatment options for patients these days from traditional braces to Invisalign to mail-order aligners. Only a trained orthodontist has the specialized knowledge to identify, diagnose, and properly treat all the variables associated with your bite. Orthodontists take your unique needs and individual concerns into consideration when recommending the right treatment option for your case. Orthodontists have extensive knowledge of the full range of orthodontic “tools” and understand the best time to recommend treatment based on the growth, development, and age of each patient. They know what to use and when to use it because they work with these tools every day.
Dental check-ups during orthodontic treatment
Once you start your braces we work directly with your general dentist to keep them informed of your orthodontic treatment plan and progress throughout your treatment. It is very important that you continue to visit your family dentist at least once every six months for teeth cleanings and routine dental checkups, even during your orthodontic care. If extra dental care is needed, we will be happy to coordinate with your family dentist to make sure you receive the best possible treatment available.