Most of us are familiar with dentistry terms, procedures and treatments. But, how many of us know the clear differences between a dentist and an orthodontist? Not many of us know, isn’t it? Check out some of the interesting differences between these two specialists and also know about how to reach out to the right professional.
- Educational background
Every orthodontist can be a dentist, but only a few numbers of dentists are orthodontists. The first 4 years of bachelor’s degrees in dentistry is compulsory for both dentists and orthodontists. However, it requires an additional two or three-year degree of practice to become an orthodontist. This additional degree of an orthodontist is to specialise in correcting alignment problems – like malocclusion or ‘bad bite’. On the whole, a dentist with orthodontic training is known as a qualified orthodontist.
- When to seek the right professionals?
Now that you are familiar with their educational backgrounds – It is important to know, as to when to seek the help of the right professional. A general dentist will analyse, treat and maintain your overall oral health care. For example: routine dental checkups, x-rays and cleanings. A dentist is also responsible for filling cavities, for removing or teeth impairment and for making models for dentures. In case of issues beyond the scope dentists an orthodontist would be a perfect choice. Issues like – poor dental alignment, malocclusion, protruding teeth, facial imbalance, inability to close the lips or difficulty in biting or chewing etc are handled by an orthodontist.
- Dental treatments Vs Orthodontic treatments
Some of the dental treatments include gum treatments, root canal treatments, fillings, crowns, bridges, veneers, teeth whitening etc. On the other hand, an orthodontist focuses on aligning the teeth and jaws using non-surgical procedures. An orthodontist also treats gaps, overbite, underbite, bad bites, overcrowded teeth, temporomandibular disorders (TMD) etc. Some of the Orthodontic procedures include wires, braces like metal braces, Invisalign or invisible braces or clear braces or hidden braces, retainers and other curative appliances.
- Paediatric dentists Vs paediatric orthodontists
A paediatric dentist is a dentist for kids, similarly, orthodontists for kids is called paediatric orthodontists. Dentistry for kids is almost similar to dentistry for adults. However, a paediatric dentist is much well versed in interacting with kids and more specialised in handling kids cases. Most of the dentists recommend your kid visiting an orthodontist by age 7. Kid’s jaws are the most flexible at this age and hence, problems can be detected early and fixed easily.
- Ideal age for specialized treatments
A general dentist consultation can be done as early as 6months of kid’s age. However, the ideal age recommended for orthodontic treatment is age 7. Invisalign or orthodontics is not just restricted to kids. It can also be done at various adult ages like – 21 years or even older ages like 81 years. The main purpose of orthodontics is – to reshape the dental arches, to rightly position the teeth – in order to produce a younger and beautiful smile.
- Treatments which contribute to Oral healthcare
No matter, what type of treatment you choose – be it a general dental procedure or an orthodontic procedure. Both of these treatments are important for overall oral health care. Neglecting the dental health can lead to bigger problems like malnutrition, obesity, heart diseases, stroke etc. Studies have also revealed that poor oral health care can result in heart diseases. Hence, regular dental health check-ups and follow-ups are best recommended to lead a healthy lifestyle.
How to find the right dentist or orthodontist?
Once you are aware of the differences between the individual specializations. Know how to find the right professional in your locality.
Ask for references – Talk to your family or friends or relatives, to know their best family dentist. Check on their experiences with the dentist and if you are happy with the feedback, ask for the contact details.
Check online reviews – Once you have collected some of the dentist’s names. Do a thorough online research to check online reviews and feedback. This can be greatly helpful to decide the right one.
Take appointment – Once you are done with all the background and history verifications. Call up the dentist office and ask some key questions like what are the common procedures used? What is the cost for these procedures? What are the office hours? Also, know if all these medical procedures can be covered by medical insurance. Once you are satisfied with all the queries, check for the availability and get your first appointment fixed.
Know your dentist – On your first appointment, it is crucial to know if you like your dentist or orthodontist. Make sure your dentist encourages an interactive conversation to make you feel comfortable and to treat you with the utmost respect.
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