You may have noticed that your general dentist also offers orthodontic treatment. If this is the case, you may also be wondering why you should visit an orthodontist when your dentist offers the same treatment.
While orthodontists and dentists both help patients improve their oral healthy, they do so in very different ways. Dentistry is a broad field and all dentists attend a four year dental program and obtain a DMD or DDS doctorate degree. All dentists receive training in providing care for a wide range of oral health issues. General dentists are licensed to provide care to improve your overall oral health, and will typically refer you to a specialist if you require additional care. A specialist is a dentist who has furthered their education through additional years of training in an accredited program. They have received an additional degree, often a Masters of Science (MS) or a certificate indicating successful completion of their training. Examples of these dental specialists include orthodontists, endodontists, oral surgeons, pediatric dentists and prosthodontists. Each represents a separate branch of dentistry. Orthodontics is a specialty within dentistry which focuses on correcting bites, straightening the teeth and treating other dental and facial irregularities so that you can enjoy optimal oral function.
Upon graduation from dental school, an orthodontist completes two to three years of additional training in order to specialize in orthodontics and learn the techniques and skills needed to properly align your teeth and jaws. This begins will appropriate diagnosis and treatment planning. Only individuals who complete this additional training can call themselves “orthodontists.” This specialized training provides your orthodontist with the knowledge and skills needed to correct issues involving your bite, jaw and tooth alignment in the most effective and comfortable ways possible. Their practice is limited to their specialty and they do not do fillings and crowns. However, they do work closely with your general dentist to make sure all areas of your oral health are addressed.
Here are a few cases where seeing an orthodontist rather than a general dentist may be beneficial:
- Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
- Missing teeth
- Skeletal or jaw growth problems
- Protruding or “buck” teeth
- Teeth which are misaligned or crooked
- Bad bites (overbite, underbite, crossbite, open bite, etc.)
- Facial imbalances
- Grinding and clenching of teeth (bruxism)
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty chewing or biting
- Oral habits, including but not limited to the following:
- Contributing factors for the following problems:
- An inability to comfortably close your lips
- Speech difficulty
- Mouth breathing
- Noise or pain in the jaw
While your general dentist may have received training to provide some orthodontic treatments, trusting your smile to an orthodontist ensures that your final result will be balanced and improve your oral health and function as well as your smile. A frequent question is “How do I know I am seeing an orthodontist?”
Again, an orthodontist will have a practice limited to orthodontics only. In addition, the American Association of Orthodontists® (AAO) is a professional organization that provides memberships only to those who have completed an accredited program. You will see the AAO logo on the site. When visiting the office, you should see a certificate or diploma from an accredited orthodontic residency program. The best way to know is to ask.
We invite you to call Renick Orthodontics at 740-936-5003 to learn more about orthodontics in Sunbury, Ohio, and schedule your consultation with our experienced orthodontist, Dr. Michele Renick. We look forward to helping you care for your smile.