Why Choose an Orthodontist Over a General Dentist?
If you’re looking for someone to straighten your crooked teeth to give you a beautiful smile, you may be asking yourself: Why choose an orthodontist over a general dentist? Firstly, let’s look at a major difference between general dentists and those who specialize in orthodontics. While many general dentists offer orthodontic services, an orthodontist has greater expertise in correcting misaligned teeth and jaws, acquired through years of extra training.
Both a general dentist and an orthodontist will have graduated from dental school, where they covered aspects of dentistry such as professional teeth cleaning, extractions, and dealing with cavities. However, an orthodontist will then have undertaken a further two or more years of training beyond their four years in dental school, in an orthodontic education program approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).
This extra training is called a residency and entails both academic and clinical education, plus treating orthodontic patients, from start to finish, under supervision of orthodontic professors. Dedicating two or three years to learning how to fix any orthodontic problem an individual may have demonstrates a commitment and passion to solve patients’ orthodontic problems.
When You Need an Orthodontist
If you want a cosmetic dental treatment like teeth whitening, veneers, or crowns, you’ll be safe in the hands of a good general dentist. However, the repositioning of teeth and jaws is an entirely different matter, and sometimes, orthodontists have to repair orthodontic mistakes by general dentists. Wiser dentists will refer patients with orthodontic issues to an orthodontist.
If you have one of the following problems, you should seriously consider taking advantage of the specialist expertise offered by orthodontists:
- Crowded teeth – resulting in teeth that are severely crooked.
- Gapped teeth – gaps between teeth expose the gums to a greater risk of infection.
- Jaw pain – TMJD (temporomandibular joint disorder) affects the muscles and joints between the base of the skull and the lower jaw.
- Crossbite – when misalignment of the dental arches causes the upper teeth to bite on the inside of the lower teeth.
- Overbite – the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth.
- Open bite – when the upper and lower teeth don’t make proper contact.
- Underbite – projection of the lower teeth beyond the upper teeth.
Getting the Orthodontic Treatment That You Need
Orthodontists straighten crooked teeth and correct bite problems for a living, handling hundreds of new cases year in, year out. On the other hand, a general dentist may see only a handful of orthodontic cases over a year, fitted in between all the other things they do. This gives orthodontists far greater experience in improving the oral health of patients and enhancing their facial appearance.
This higher level of experience enables an orthodontist to distinguish between simple and complex cases and devise a course of treatment accordingly. With more intricate and challenging cases, an orthodontist’s extra training and greater experience makes them far better equipped to deal with any unexpected problems that may rise.
There is also the issue of value for money. With their advanced training and greater experience, orthodontists usually charge more than general dentists. But, as we all know, you get what you pay for. While it may be cheaper to have a general dentist straighten your teeth, the result may not be what you hoped for, and treatment time is likely to be longer.
Orthodontists Give You Greater Choice
The Invisalign system of teeth straightening has become a popular alternative to conventional braces, and many general dentists offer Invisalign as their sole means of orthodontic treatment. However, not everyone is suitable for this type of treatment, and besides Invisalign, orthodontists such as Dr. Amy Buchler at OMG Smiles provide a wide range of other treatments including metal and ceramic braces. This wider choice ensures you get the most effective orthodontic treatment for your needs.
While we’re on the subject of Invisalign, concerns have been raised about “substandard” Invisalign treatment by general dentists lacking in training. In 2011, orthodontist Dr. Ted Rothstein asserted than the rising popularity of Invisalign was leading to fierce competition from general dentists for a share of the market. He said the makers of Invisalign, Align Technology, developed the system specifically for orthodontists, but general dentists successfully sued for the right to use it.
Advantages of Going to an Orthodontist
There may be many well-trained general dentists who can treat the less complicated orthodontic cases with satisfactory results, but there are many advantages to seeing an orthodontist when it comes to getting that great smile you’ve always longed for. If your teeth are not moved correctly, you may develop issues that didn’t exist before treatment, such as jaw problems or an overbite.
An orthodontist will keep up to speed with hi-tech developments in their chosen, specialized field, including 3D imaging and offer you a free orthodontic assessment to give you a clear understanding of your personalized treatment options. Because orthodontists are passionate about their specialty, they will surround themselves with practice team members – clinical managers and assistants and treatment coordinators – who share that commitment.
Orthodontists Understand Your Concerns
While the clinical skills gained through extra training are essential for an orthodontist, there are some things that can’t be taught in a dental classroom or residency. These are the soft skills that enable an empathetic approach to patients of all ages who may well be embarrassed about their crooked teeth.
It’s not all about appearance, though. The American Dental Association says that straightening misaligned teeth can significantly improve dental health. Teeth that are too widely spaced or crowded can lead to gum disease. When teeth are in the right position, it helps the gums to fit better around them, boosting defense against potential periodontal (gum disease) problems.
An orthodontist will also provide post-orthodontic care, and advise you on oral healthcare at home, to make sure your teeth remain straight and healthy – and you keep your beautiful smile.
Are you searching for a quality orthodontist in Waterbury? At OMG Smiles in Waterbury, Connecticut, you can rest assured that Dr. Buchler and her experienced team will provide premium orthodontic care for youth and adults alike. Contact our office today!