Aren't all dentists similar? Don't they provide the same treatment?
In short, the answer is no. They are very different. All dentists in general, care about your dental health and are trained to ensure optimal health of your teeth and gums.
Why should I seek a specialist orthodontist to have my smile corrected?
The important difference is all orthodontists are dentists who have undergone the basic dental studying and training for 5 years, but not all dentists are specialist orthodontists.
A specialist orthodontist undergoes further training and studying for 3 years focussing only on braces treatment, the latest research and technology relating to it so that they can provide the best of what's available for you. It is similar to seeing a cardiologist for a heart problem rather than your family GP who attends to other general health issues.
The training includes treating patients with various types of alignment and bite problems. More severe problems such as hypodontia (missing teeth), impaction (teeth that are stuck in bone and can't come through), and jaw surgery in combination with braces to correct jaw alignment are also undertaken. All this is done under the guidance of senior orthodontic specialists who have many years of experience.
How do I know if I'm seeing a specialist orthodontist?
- Check with the clinic if it is a registered orthodontic specialist. You will need to enquire if the specialist is orthodontics trained as there are many other dental specialists such as oral surgeons, root canal specialists, gum specialists, among others.
- Check the credentials of the specialist and where they underwent orthodontic training.
What treatment do orthodontists perform?
People see orthodontists for very specific services. You would see an orthodontist if you're unhappy about:
- The arrangement of your teeth. This could be crowding (overlapping) of teeth or spaces between teeth.
- The way your teeth bite together. This could be either your top teeth biting further forward compared to your bottom teeth (teeth sticking out/ buck teeth) or the opposite way round where your bottom teeth bite ahead of your top teeth.
An orthodontist provides treatment to correct the arrangement of teeth, straightening them, correcting your bite and closing up gaps that are present. This is done using a brace.
There are many different types of braces available today. Gone are the days when having braces means you will have a mouth full of metal!
In my next post, I will be covering the different types of braces that are available. You will be pleasantly surprised to know that there are many aesthetic and less visible options. Schedule your visit to a specialist orthodontist to enquire which brace is best for you and have that beautiful smile you've always dreamed of!