You probably know that you should visit your dentist twice a year for exams and cleanings, but when should you see an orthodontist? What distinguishes the two dental professionals? Knowing what services each specialist offers can help you plan an appointment with the right person to address your dental requirements if you have a problem with your teeth, gums, or another portion of your mouth or jaws.
Dentist vs. Orthodontist Training
Orthodontists and dentists have the same basic training, however orthodontists receive further training after graduating from dental school. According to the American Dentistry Association, a person must finish four years of undergraduate study and four years of dental school to become a dentist. Before being licensed to practice dentistry, dentists must pass a difficult written test as well as a clinical licensing exam. The initials DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry or Doctor of Dental Medicine) appear after the name of qualified dentists.
According to the California Association of Orthodontists, one might choose to work as a regular dentist or specialize in orthodontics, which involves extra training (CAO). Orthodontists account for around 6% of dentists. Orthodontic courses go beyond basic dental education and concentrate on a specialized area of dentistry. A two- or three-year residency and more than 4,800 hours of orthodontic training are included in the extra education.
Dentists: What Do They Do?
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, dentists are responsible for their patients’ overall dental health (AAO). Dentists can detect and treat cavities, moderate gum disease, and oral hygiene issues during routine exams, as well as remove teeth that are beyond saving. Dentists also use bonding, veneers, or crowns to restore the function and look of teeth that are damaged, chipped, malformed, or badly decaying. In addition, your dentist examines the interior of your mouth for symptoms of oral illness and provides you information on how to keep your teeth healthy. If your dentist discovers a condition that they aren’t trained to handle, they will recommend you to a dental expert or a physician.
What Are Orthodontists and What Do They Do?
Orthodontists specialize in aligning the jaws and relocating teeth, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. In practice, this implies that orthodontists provide treatments to rectify crowded teeth, gaps between teeth, protruding teeth, and misaligned jaws.
Traditional braces, lingual braces, and clear aligners, among other orthodontic products, are among the techniques available to orthodontics to assist bring teeth and jaws into normal alignment. Because each patient’s alignment issues are unique, orthodontists design specific treatment plans using X-rays and pictures of the teeth, according to the AAO.
When Should You See an Orthodontist Instead of a Dentist?
In certain circumstances, the services provided by each expert may overlap. According to the AAO, several states allow dentists to perform orthodontic treatments such as braces in addition to their usual dental services. Orthodontists, on the other hand, often only provide treatments that are related to their field of dentistry. While you may encounter dentists promoting orthodontic treatments, an orthodontist is a dental expert who has completed the necessary training.
Should you see an orthodontist or a dentist if you require dental treatment? If you have a toothache or fear you have a cavity, make an appointment with your regular dentist. If you have an orthodontic appliance that needs to be repaired, an orthodontist can assist you.
Your orthodontist may only see you for the period of your orthodontic treatment, but you’ll see a trustworthy general dentist for the rest of your life. They will examine the condition of your teeth, gums, and mouth interior and, if required, refer you to a specialist. Your dentist will recommend you to an orthodontist if you require treatment for crooked teeth or an issue with your bite.
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