As a patient, you may think that your dentist’s office is a one-stop shop for all things related to tooth and oral health. However, while dentists are skilled doctors who can treat and diagnose problems and diseases that affect your teeth and gums, as well as recommend treatment options, they are not the same as orthodontists. Much like you wouldn’t visit your family doctor when you need dedicated support for an issue with your heart, issues related to the spacing and alignment of your teeth should be left to a skilled orthodontist. In this post, we’re going to take a look at the differences between an orthodontist and a dentist, as well as explain why it’s important to visit your Docbraces orthodontist for a FREE consultation for braces or other orthodontic treatment.
Orthodontists and Dentists: What’s the Difference?
Orthodontists and dentists share many similarities—both work hard to help you improve your overall oral health. That said, they work in very different ways. Dentistry covers a broad spectrum of oral health issues, the same way your family doctor will address a wide array of issues. Orthodontics, on the other hand, is a specialization within dentistry that focuses on issues such as straightening teeth and correcting improper bite patterns. In total, an orthodontist will spend a minimum of 11 years in post-secondary schooling and training—at least three years more than dentists. Orthodontists attend dentistry school first, and in order to be accepted into the required intensive 3-year Masters of Orthodontics program, they must graduate in the top 5% of their class. When orthodontists graduate, they have a complete understanding of your mouth, teeth, and jaws, and all the issues that can happen in this part of the body including:
- Cross or open bites
- Narrow arches
- Excessive spacing
- Breathing issues stemming from narrow airways and dental arches
- And many more!
Orthodontics Goes Beyond Cosmetic Purposes
Orthodontists are known for giving you straighter teeth and a more confident smile, but they do so much more! For example, did you know that orthodontists also treat physical health problems or pain that may arise as a result of jaw, facial, and tooth misalignment? It’s true! Orthodontic treatment can also help address digestive problems, headaches, bone loss, and tooth damage related to a whole range of bite issues.
Visiting an Orthodontist is Important for Your Health
Children should see orthodontists first at 7 years of age as many orthodontic issues can be addressed quickly at a younger age. If left untreated, these issues might require much more complex, expensive, and painful treatment later in life. However, it's important to note that adults up to 70 can still enjoy the benefits of orthodontic treatment—and no one is better placed to diagnose and address these issues than a certified orthodontist! There’s no way around it—an orthodontist is simply more specialized and more experienced than a dentist when it comes to diagnosing and treating both visible and invisible oral problems and irregularities. In addition, orthodontists—like the teams in the Moncton, Halifax, Dartmouth, Summerside, and Charlottetown Docbraces locations—are the only professionals you should visit for a consultation on jaw development issues, or for moving your teeth and ensuring they stay in the proper position. You never need a referral from a dentist to visit an orthodontist for a no-obligation consultation, and if your dentist is offering orthodontic treatment to you or your child, you have every right to ask for a second opinion from an orthodontist. Your family deserves the best treatment, and that comes from a certified orthodontist! To learn more about the benefits of choosing an orthodontist for orthodontic treatment, download our FREE guide Orthodontist’s Second Opinion: 5 Reasons to Get Treatment Alternatives, and What to Ask.