When you need your teeth and your gums checked, or if a tooth is damaged, you’ll want to make an appointment with a dentist. But if you’d like a more confident smile, or have concerns because of crooked teeth, you’ll want to visit an orthodontist who specializes in straightening or realigning teeth.
If you stand them side-by-side, dentists and orthodontists seem quite similar. Both earn a bachelor’s degree and are required to complete a doctorate in dentistry. Once this education is complete, a general dentist can begin working in a practice, examining teeth, taking X-rays, filling cavities and making other repairs.
Orthodontists, however, must continue their education, including being accepted as a student in an accredited orthodontic residency program and successful completion of a minimum of two academic years of additional study. During these years, the orthodontic student learns the skills required for patient management, the growth and development of children, about airways and breathing, and about aligning teeth and guiding facial development.
Orthodontists have the education and experience to fix many of the issues that can be corrected with braces:
Although dentists and orthodontists may have different specialties, they work together to provide the best in oral health. When visiting your general dentist for a bi-annual checkup and teeth cleaning, he or she may notice issues that could be corrected with orthodontics.
Whether you’re referred by your regular dentist or decide to visit us on your own, your first visit will include an exam and discussion of issues you may be having. We will then recommend a course of treatment that may include braces. It’s very important that while you’re going through your orthodontic treatment process, you visit your dentist regularly for thorough exams and teeth cleaning.