What is an orthodontist and how are they different than a dentist? This is a question many people ask when they first learn they will visit an orthodontist. Often, they turn to the Internet for an answer and Google it.
Orthodontists are dental specialists in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. They provide a wide range of treatment options to straighten crooked teeth, fix bad bites, and align the jaws correctly.
After completing a four-year bachelor’s degree and a four-year degree in dentistry, an orthodontist undergoes another 5,000 hours (three years) of specialist training in orthodontics. Whether you are being treated with braces or aligners, be sure you’re being treated by an orthodontist for best results.
30% of the Population Need to Know — What is an Orthodontist?
Abnormal alignment of the teeth and jaws is common. In fact, nearly 30% of the population has malocclusion severe enough to benefit from orthodontic treatment. Treatment can take several months to a few years. Often it involves the use of braces and other appliances to slowly move the teeth and jaws around. On occasion, severe malocclusion requires jaw surgery. Treatment starts before a person reaches adulthood since bones can more easily move in children.
In the United States, about four million teens and get teeth-straightening treatment every year — and that doesn’t count the growing number of adults who benefit from orthodontics. Most orthodontic treatments can be done at any age. However, there’s one that is expressly for children whose mouths are still growing. Specifically, this method is interceptive orthodontics. In fact, it has been steadily gaining acceptance in recent years. If you haven’t heard about it, now is a good time to learn. This method has the ability to improve your child’s experience and outcome with orthodontic treatment.
Intercepting Dental Issues Before Permanent Teeth Arrive
Interceptive orthodontics can begin as early as age 6 or 7. At this age, teeth are still developing, and the jaw is still growing. That means certain conditions, such as crowding, may be easier to address.
Because treatment starts earlier than it would via traditional orthodontic methods — as early as 6 to 10 years of age versus the traditional 10 to 12 years of age — most permanent teeth have not yet come in. Also, the interceptive treatment itself doesn’t necessarily involve braces. Instead, it can employ many other techniques. These range from special devices to behavioral modification. Traditional braces or other appliances follow.
The goal of interceptive orthodontics is to influence the growth and development of the jaws (or other oral structures) in a way that would be more difficult or impossible to do at an older age. It is effective only while the body is still growing — that’s why it begins early and isn’t for adults. However, when completed early, this method offers amazing results without longer or more invasive treatments. As a result, kids get a healthier smile with better aesthetics and improved function.
When Examining “What is an Orthodontist?” Also, Check Out “What An Orthodontist Does”
While orthodontists are known for straightening teeth, they also assist with painful and misaligned bites. In addition, they repair tooth movement caused by bad habits such as thumb sucking and even help with certain forms of sleep apnea.
Plus, if you’re wondering what an orthodontist can do for your smile, make an appointment to have an assessment. No referrals are necessary. Using their knowledge and expertise in facial irregularities and tooth movements, an orthodontist can help you to understand which of the available treatment options will be best for you or your child.
Between fixed and removable plates, metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual (invisible) braces, and clear aligners, there are treatments to suit every need and lifestyle. It is best to make an appointment with your orthodontist before deciding on the treatment option you would like because every case is different and may require a particular orthodontic care option.
What is the Difference Between an Orthodontist and a Dentist?
Orthodontists and dentists share many similarities – they work together to help you improve your overall oral health – but they work in very different ways. Dentists cover a broad range of oral health issues. An orthodontist, on the other hand, is a dental specialist with a primary focus of straightening teeth and aligning jaws.
For patients to make informed decisions regarding their treatment, it’s important to be aware of a few key differences between orthodontists and dentists:
- A general dentist is similar to your family medical doctor. They are highly skilled general practitioners who diagnose and treat problems and common diseases that affect your teeth, mouth, and gums.
- Dentists complete a bachelor’s degree and a four-year dental degree.
- They are experts in general dental care and maintenance for all ages. They also perform cosmetic dental procedures such as tooth whitening, porcelain veneers, and crowns.
- Unlike orthodontists, dentists have no university training to fit braces or oversee other orthodontic treatments.
- Most general dentists will refer patients and their own families requiring orthodontic care to a specialist, an orthodontist.
- Orthodontists are registered, dental specialists. They have completed an additional three years of full-time university training in orthodontics, facial growth, and development, biology, and biomechanics.
- Orthodontists are facial growth and dental development experts. They diagnose and treat crooked teeth, bad bites, and poorly aligned jaws.
- Orthodontists are experts in all orthodontic care options and technologies for children, teens, and adults.
What is an Orthodontist and How Do I Know When I Need to See One?
You should select an orthodontist for your child by the age of 7. When it comes to orthodontic care including early interceptive treatment, braces, and aligners, we recommend that patients see an orthodontist.
Patients should continue to see their dentist for regular check-ups and cleaning throughout their orthodontic care. Dentists play a very important role in maintaining good oral health.
Orthodontists and dentists will always work together to achieve optimal results for you and your children. Although a referral from a dentist is not required to see an orthodontist, it is a good idea to first see your family dentist for a check-up and regularly thereafter. You can request a referral to an orthodontist that your dentist has a working relationship with. Click here to set an appointment with Sky Ortho.