You know that it's important to see your dentist twice a year for check-ups and cleanings, but when would you need to see an orthodontist? How are the two dental professionals different? It helps to know what services each professional provides so that when you have a problem with your teeth, gums or another part of your mouth or jaws, you can make an appointment with the proper person to treat your dental needs.
Orthodontist Vs. Dentist: Who Should You See?
Orthodontists and dentists undertake the same training initially, but orthodontists complete further training after they graduate dental school. According to the Indian Dental Association, to become a dentist, a person must complete four years of dental education called Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) from college whose courses are recognised by the Dental Council of India (DCI). After the completion of the four years of study, the student has to complete at least a year of internship. During the internship, the student uses the knowledge and the skills acquired in treating the patients. Student can work with a senior dentist to acquire practical skills. You can work in hospital; here one is associated with a complete dental hospital or the dental fraternity of a medical hospital. The experience gained, however depends on the kind and the inflow of the patient.
Orthodontics: this specialisation involves the perfect alignment of teeth but also the proper growth of the teeth and jaws. Many people have problems with the alignment of their teeth, which is desirable from aesthetic and also functional position. Not all dentists are orthodontists. Orthodontic courses go beyond basic dental training and have a more specific focus.
The IDA further notes that dentistry is a professional field which includes dental care and correction. Dentists are concerned with all health problems afflicting the mouth, teeth, gums and other hard and soft tissues of the oral cavity. Through regular check-ups, dentists can spot and treat cavities, mild gum disease and oral hygiene problems, and they can also extract teeth that are beyond saving. Dentists also improve the function and appearance of teeth by applying bonding, veneers or crowns to teeth that are broken, chipped, misshapen or severely decayed. What's more, your dentist checks inside your mouth for signs of oral diseases and gives advice on how to maintain your oral health. If your dentist spots a problem that they aren't qualified to treat, they will refer you to a dental specialist or physician as appropriate.
The Indian Dental Association notes that specialisation in Orthodontics involves the perfect alignment of teeth but also the proper growth of the teeth and jaws. What this means in practice is that orthodontists offer treatments to correct crowded teeth, gaps between teeth, teeth that stick out and jaws that don't align properly.
Orthodontists have many tools at their disposal to help them move the teeth and jaws into proper alignment, including traditional braces, lingual braces and clear aligners, among other orthodontic appliances. Because alignment problems are unique to each patient, orthodontists use X-rays and photographs of the teeth to create individualised treatment plans, notes the AAO.
In some cases, there might be overlap in the services each professional may offer. In some states, dentists are permitted to provide some orthodontic treatments, such as braces, in addition to their general dental services, notes the AAO. However, orthodontists usually only offer treatments that fall within their dental specialty. While you may see dentists advertising orthodontic treatments, only a dental professional who has undergone the proper training can be called an orthodontist.
So, if you need dental treatment, should you call an orthodontist or a dentist? If you have a toothache or suspect you might have developed a cavity, see your general dentist for a diagnosis. If you've been given an orthodontic appliance and it needs repair, your orthodontist will be able to help.
You may only see your orthodontist for the duration of your orthodontic treatment, but you'll visit a trusted general dentist for a lifetime. They will check the health of your teeth, gums and the interior of your mouth and recommend a specialist when necessary. And if you ever need treatment for crooked teeth or a problem that affects your bite, your dentist will refer you to an orthodontist.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.