By the time they get to age 65, most Americans will have some form of tooth decay. That is why it is critical to ensure you schedule at least two dental visits per year. However, even as you do so, you need to know whether your needs require you to see a dentist or an orthodontist. Dentists can help patients achieve a healthier smile with regular cleanings, X-rays, and even surgery, while Orthodontists typically specialize in alignment of the teeth and jaws. Unfortunately, some people do not understand the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist. It is crucial to be clear on the distinction between the two areas of specialization. Here are five key areas where the two specialties differ.
Dentists are similar to family doctors in that they provide general dental services. They can conduct checkups and carry out teeth cleanings. They may also provide services around extractions and fillings.
Orthodontics, on the other hand, specializes in matters concerning facial growth. By detecting issues with jaw and teeth alignment, they can prevent extensive procedures later.
Both dentists and orthodontists must pass the National Dental Exam to practice in their area of specialization. The curriculum consists of two parts, with the first being theory and lab. The later part of the course involves practical training in a real-life clinic.
After completing their undergraduate in dental school, dentists can proceed for a further 2 or 3 years to become orthodontists. The training is in the form of a residency program.
To be certified in orthodontics, a dentist must complete a written exam and more than 4,800 hours of a residency program. The training has a more specific focus on teeth and gum alignment.
In the residency program, trainees work under the supervision of qualified orthodontists. They treat patients for tooth malocclusion and jaw problems, e.g., TMJ, during their training.
4. Dental Treatments
Dentists can treat most cases of tooth decay, discoloration, and extraction. If you have inflammation of the gums, you can go for tests at dental offices in Farmington, NM. Dentists can also check for signs of misalignment and then refer you to an orthodontic specialist.
An orthodontist can assist with the correction of jaw and teeth misalignment. Most specialists can treat patients of all ages above seven years. Early diagnosis is crucial for treatment since the bones of young ones can adjust to changes.
5. Getting Braces
Only an orthodontist is trained to provide dental devices to correct misalignment. The specialist may recommend adult braces as part of the treatment. Such devices require special skills to treat patients successfully.
You can schedule an appointment with an orthodontist once you have been diagnosed with malocclusions, or you can seek the advice of an orthodontist yourself if you feel that something needs to be addressed. Some insurance companies reimburse the treatment expenses.
If you choose to get braces, you’ll be going for follow up sessions with your orthodontics professional. If there is an issue with the appliance, the specialist will be the one to fix it.
Difference Between Dentists and Orthodontists
Dentists treat general cases of dental health problems. They may also refer patients with malocclusions to an orthodontic specialist. Only orthodontists have the training and authorization to carry out complex procedures like braces. It is advisable to visit a certified professional to ensure the procedures conform with the recommended dental standards. And always remember that the earlier you get any form of dental treatment, the higher your chances of avoiding treatment later.