What is a Specialist Orthodontist?
Is it better to see a Specialist Orthodontist or a Family Dentist for orthodontic treatment? Firstly, what’s the difference?
Dentistry is a broad medical speciality that deals with the teeth, gum, nerves, and jaw. A good family dentist will look after your day to day dental needs, such as fillings and cleaning your teeth.
Orthodontics is a specialism within dentistry. It is concerned with the correcting of bites, occlusion, and the straightness of teeth.
To become a real Specialist Orthodontist a family dentist must complete 3 additional years of full time training in a Dental Hospital or Medical University.
Are they not the same?
A dentist and an orthodontist both focus on dental care. An orthodontist can work as a dentist, carrying out general family dentistry. They have both received the same core dental training.
Family dentists provide services related to:
- Tooth decay
- Root canals
- Gum disease
- Teeth whitening
However, there are differences.
How are they different?
To become a real orthodontist a family dentist must complete an additional 3 years of full time training. This gives orthodontists the skills to help patients with the alignment of their teeth and improve their bite.
Orthodontists are dentists that provide services related to:
- Misaligned teeth
- Crowded teeth
What else can an orthodontist help me with?
Orthodontists can help with a number of bite related issues:
- Straighten crooked teeth
- Correct overbites
- Correct underbites
- Correct cross-bites
- Close the spaces between teeth
- Reduce overcrowding of teeth
- Treatment of jaw pain
My Family Dentist says he can treat me, why do I need to see a specialist?
A Family Dentistry has not received specialist orthodontic training, as such many will fail to spot serious orthodontic complications.
This can lead to losing teeth, unstable treatment, prolonged treatment and pain.
How about 6-month braces?
These short-term treatments have a heightened risk of relapse if the patient doesn’t maintain their teeth in their new position by the use of a permanent retainer, requiring recurrent life-long professional supervision. Failure to comply with this or loss or breakage of the retainer will result in the teeth rapidly tipping back to where they came from. If another course of short-term treatment is undertaken to recover the situation, the back-and-forth tipping pressures the teeth will have been exposed to can resorb the roots of the teeth and so compromise their long-term retention. In short, you could start losing teeth.