Choosing an Orthodontist vs. a Regular Dentist for Orthodontics
It is unarguable that good dental care is required for overall wellness. But sometimes, choosing the right professional for your dental issues can be pretty tricky. Is it okay to see a regular dentist for orthodontist issues? The answer boils down to your needs and not necessarily your preferences.
Dentistry is a broad medical field dominated by practitioners focused on the health of the teeth, gums, mouth, and jaw. Orthodontics is a specialized profession that treats all irregularities in teeth or jaw alignment. All orthodontists are trained dentists, but only 5% of dentists are actually orthodontists. If you are thinking about who is best suited for your teeth issues, Ballard Orthodontics has taken time to shed light upon both professions so that you can decide on what is best for you.
Orthodontists Have Specialized Training Needed to Deliver Effective Orthodontic Care
Dentists and orthodontists are doctors who practice in the field of oral health. Both have to go to dental school after a bachelor's program to obtain a basic dentistry certification and get a license to practice general dentistry.
However, this is where the similarity ends. While dentists may use up to eight years of studying to finetune their skills, an orthodontist would use between ten to 11 years. A dentist is regarded as a general practitioner, but an orthodontist is a specialist. That's because an orthodontist undergoes two to three more years of specialist training in orthodontist dentistry. After this training, orthodontists take a board exam to board exam to get the license required to practice.
This level of extensive training and schooling equips orthodontists to become better suited for treating teeth and jaw alignment problems than general dentists with more generalized knowledge of dental care. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, orthodontists go through 3,700 hours of special training in the areas of teeth movement, jawbones, facial bones, and soft tissues.
Orthodontists are Better Suited for Customized Treatments
General dentistry involves diagnosing and treating general teeth or gum diseases, conditions and disorders. And while a general dentist is often the first port of call for dental issues, people in need of customized treatment related to the facial bones are often referred to an orthodontist.
Orthodontic issues require the expertise of a certified orthodontist because they are more intricate in nature. Conditions such as teeth straightening and bite alignment are complex procedures requiring customized treatment plans. Orthodontists are specialists trained to design personalized treatment plans to help ensure that your teeth are properly aligned and function well.
Orthodontists are trained specialists, which means they take over teeth cases that dentists cannot handle. It is important to remember that orthodontic treatments are temporary, but dentist checkups are necessary routines that must be performed over the course of one's lifetime.
Can General Dentists Administer Orthodontic Treatments?
Orthodontic treatment is not a natural part of mainstream dentistry. However, there are instances where a general dentist may be able to administer basic orthodontic treatment. For a dentist to give orthodontic treatments, they must have undergone continuous educational training to acquire some knowledge in orthodontics.
It isn't uncommon for many dentists without formal orthodontist training to do this as one of the ways to increase revenue for their practice. For instance, a general dentist may be able to prescribe Invisalign aligners for patients after attending some training or seminar about the use of Invisalign.
But while these seminars and training are useful and helpful, they can hardly be compared to the years of in-depth training an orthodontist can offer. In the field of orthodontics, complexities cannot always be understood through superficial teachings. To get the best possible treatment, it is much more advisable to visit the office of a licensed orthodontist.
Orthodontist or Dentist, Who Is Better Equipped to Treat Kids?
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children see a certified orthodontist before the age of seven. Since children of this age have some teeth in their mouth, orthodontic treatment can screen them adequately and provide critical insights into how their teeth are likely to grow and the kind of orthodontic treatments the child might require in the pre-teen and teenage years.
Orthodontic treatments for children are just as important as general oral care from a dentist. Of course, unless an issue is identified during the orthodontic consultation, a visit to the orthodontist clinic is typically a one-time thing, while seeing a dentist has to be more regular. (usually every six months).
Role of the General Dentist in Orthodontic Treatment
Although orthodontists are better positioned to deliver orthodontic treatment, general dentists still have some role to play. In most cases, they're the first line of treatment for patients needing orthodontic care and are in charge of referring them for more specialized care. The following are some of the roles regular dentists may play in orthodontic treatment:
- Detection and diagnosis of orthodontist issues
- In-depth diagnosis and recommendation
- Carry out and analyze an x-ray or a CAT scan to understand the problem further and chart a course of action
- Simple orthodontic treatments such as tooth extractions to correct crowding or recommending veneers, crowns, and so on to upgrade a patient's smile.
Orthodontist vs. General Dentist — Who Should You Choose?
If you are still indecisive as regards which is better between general dentistry and orthodontics, think about it this way. If you wanted to get plastic surgery done, would you consult your family physician — a general medical practitioner — or visit a plastic surgeon's office? What about if you were diagnosed with a heart problem? Would you consult an ordinary doctor or a certified cardiologist? These same situations apply to the world of dentistry and orthodontics. Sometimes in the world of medicine, nothing beats true specialization. Specialists are trained, skilled, and equipped with the prerequisite knowledge to induce wellness.
At Ballard Orthodontics, our dedicated team is very much invested in gentle but comprehensive orthodontic care. Our chief orthodontist, Dr. Rick Ballard, is one of the best Sandpoint orthodontists. He combines relevant knowledge with industry experience to administer the best treatments for patients of all ages. Since the inception of our clinical care, we have been renowned for excellent service provision in family orthodontic services. Call us today or contact us online, for more information.