There are only about 5,000 orthodontists in the United States. Since it is an uncommon profession, many people don’t know much about it.
Many individuals are unaware of what an orthodontist is, what they do, or how they vary from a general dentist. Orthodontists are dental experts that specialize in a specific field of dentistry that requires specialized training. They work in a variety of sub-specialties, such as interceptive orthodontics.
They specialize in the treatment of dental and facial anomalies, including teeth straightening, to help align teeth, bites, and jaws properly. But isn’t that the job of a dentist? Well, not exactly. If you are wondering what’s the difference between a dentist & an orthodontist, you are in the right place.
What is the job of a dentist?
A general dental specialist is a dentist who can diagnose and treat issues and illnesses of the teeth, mouth, and gums. They are often the first point of contact for patients with dental problems, and they can provide both preventive and corrective care. General dentists usually work in private practices, although some may also work in public health clinics or hospitals.
Fillings, thorough cleaning, and repairing fractured teeth are among the services provided by general dental care and maintenance experts. Other services may include gum disease therapy, tooth extractions, and dentures. Your regular dental professional can also offer you preventive advice to avoid developing serious dental problems in the future. In order to maintain healthy teeth and gums, it is important to visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings, regardless of your age. Even if you have no teeth, you should still see your dentist at least once a year. A regular dental visit can help catch any problems early and prevent them from becoming more serious.
General dentists typically have to obtain a degree in dental medicine. They must then pass both a written and clinical exam in order to be licensed to practice. Because general dentists are not skilled in all branches of dental care, including orthodontic treatment, the majority of patients will be sent to a specialized orthodontist (or other specialists) for further care. Some general dentists may also choose to complete additional training in a specialty area such as oral surgery or orthodontics.
What is the job of an orthodontist?
Orthodontists are qualified dental experts who have received extra orthodontic training. They specialize in dental development and formation and growth of facial structures. They identify and treat oral issues and dental anomalies, such as misaligned teeth, issues with bites, or problems with jaws. Straightening teeth with braces is a significant area of specialized treatment provided by orthodontists and should not be handled by a general dentists.
Even though dentists and orthodontists collaborate to promote your overall oral health, they operate in quite different ways. While dentists are concerned with your overall oral health, orthodontists are specialists in the area of dentistry who specialize in correcting misaligned teeth and abnormal bite patterns. Both are experts dedicated to improving your oral health, but there are a few crucial distinctions to be aware of while seeking treatment.
When do you need an orthodontist?
The best time to see an orthodontist is usually around age 7. At this point, many baby teeth have fallen out, and the adult teeth are starting to come in. By age 7, it’s easier for an orthodontist to predict how the rest of the teeth will come in and identify potential problems.
If you or your child has more serious problems, an earlier visit to the orthodontist may be recommended. For example, if your child has thumb-sucking habits or baby teeth that are obstructing the adult teeth, a general dentist may refer him to an orthodontist as early as age 3 or 4.
Even if there are no problems with the teeth, you may still want to take your child for an orthodontic evaluation around age 7. That’s because some orthodontic problems are easier to correct if they’re caught early. For example, it may be easier to widen a narrow upper jaw or lower jaw while a child is still growing.
Some people may not need to see an orthodontist at all. That’s because some problems correct themselves as the child grows older. For example, overbites often improve on their own as the lower jaw grows and catches up to the upper jaw.
If you’re not sure whether you or your child needs to see an orthodontist, talk to your dentist. They can help you decide whether an evaluation is needed and when the best time would be to visit the orthodontist.
How to choose the orthodontist?
This is an important question to ask when considering braces or other orthodontic treatments. There are many factors to consider when choosing an orthodontist, and it is important to find one that you feel comfortable with and who will provide you with the best possible care.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing an orthodontist:
- Make sure the orthodontist is board certified. This means that they have met the rigorous standards set by the American Board of Orthodontics and are considered experts in the field.
- Ask about the orthodontist’s experience. It is important to find an orthodontist who has extensive experience treating the type of problem you are experiencing.
- Ask about the orthodontist’s treatment philosophy. It is important to find an orthodontist whose treatment philosophy aligns with your own.
- Ask about the orthodontist’s fees and payment options. It is important to find an orthodontist who is affordable and who offers payment options that work for you.
- Ask about the orthodontist’s office policies. It is important to find an orthodontist whose office policies are compatible with your own needs and preferences.
Take the time to do your research and ask around before making a final decision. Then, choose an orthodontist you feel comfortable with and who will provide you with the best possible care.