Every parent wants the best for their children and teeth are no exception. Cleanings, fillings and crowns are one thing, but when it comes to moving teeth into the perfect position for both health and aesthetics, choosing the right practitioner can be a bit confusing. Most important in the decision is choosing an Orthodontist, who is a specialist with extended training beyond dental school.
Comparing an orthodontist to a dentist is analogous to comparing a medical specialist to your primary care physician. Like the family doctor, dentists are excellent at covering a wide range of general issues. General dentists are not as trained or equipped, as orthodontists, to treat more complex orthodontic cases.
Orthodontists have an additional 3000+ hours of orthodontic training after dental school during their residency. The average dental school graduate gets less than 100 hours of orthodontic instruction, and most of those are text book hours, not time treating a patient.
Because orthodontics falls within the broader scope of dentistry, any licensed dentist can treat orthodontic cases. For the consumer, it can be hard to differentiate between an orthodontic specialist and a dentist who offers orthodontic services. Advertisements can be misleading or confusing. An office sign that says “orthodontics” does not necessarily mean the dentist is a specialist. There are simple steps that any consumer can take to make sure they choose the right practitioner for their needs.
- Ask the dentist if they are an orthodontist or a general dentist who performs orthodontic treatment.
When it comes to your family’s smile, informed decisions are best. If you take the time to research and understand what type of practitioner will best suit your family’s needs, the result will be healthy, beautiful smiles for life.
Dr. Bart Miller is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists. The American Association of Orthodontists is committed to educating the public about the need for, and benefits of, orthodontic treatment and choosing an orthodontist for your care. An orthodontist is a specialist and must complete two-to-three years of additional schooling and an accredited residency program to achieve this distinction.
SOURCE Texas Association of Orthodontists