Dental Decisions: When Should You See An Orthodontist Over A Dentist?

Dental Decisions

As a child, everybody learns the importance of brushing their teeth and visiting the dentist for regular cleanings to maintain good oral hygiene. But, it’s not as well known why it’s important to see an orthodontist. 

Orthodontist Versus Dentist: Who Should You See?

Both specialties share a passion for oral health, but dentists and orthodontists have different skillsets and specialize in different things entirely. To practice either profession in Canada, it’s required to hold a bachelor’s of science degree before those interested in pursuing dentistry or orthodontics can be eligible for further education. 

After spending an additional four years at dental school, graduates are considered general dentists and can practice as such. However, to become an orthodontist, a further three years of school in a master’s of orthodontics program and in-field training is mandatory. Usually, it takes about 12 years to become an orthodontist in Canada. The additional training comes with a unique variety of skills that dentists cannot offer. 

Orthodontist holding model of teeth
Usually, it takes about 12 years to become an orthodontist in Canada.

What Do Orthodontists Do? 

Orthodontists specialize in correcting and preventing misaligned teeth or jaws. They’re well known for applying braces to correct crooked teeth, but orthodontists have a full roster of treatments to help both the teeth and jaw.

These specialists work to help create the perfect smile for their patients. Orthodontists can help improve bite or jaw issues caused by common oral conditions like overbite, underbite, overcrowding and more. 

What Do Dentists Do? 

Dentists also practice many important teeth cleaning services, but it’s important to keep in mind these two factors when deciding whether to see an orthodontist versus a dentist. Dentists provide primary oral care like filling cavities, treating gum disease or promoting oral hygiene; however, orthodontists can dig deeper to investigate the more significant issues of the mouth relating to misalignment of teeth and jaw positioning. 

laid out orthodontist tools
Orthodontists can dig deeper to investigate the more significant issues of the mouth. 

These two professions share the passion for enhancing patients’ oral health, but the decision for each patient could vary when deciding to visit an orthodontist versus a dentist. Each patient needs to receive a consultation to confirm the best course of service to take. 

Many dentists offer orthodontic treatments such as Invisalign in their offices now, but orthodontists specialize in and have experience working with these issues daily. So while you can choose to stay with your dentist’s office for convenience, it’s always better to seek the advice of a specialist and get a consultation with an orthodontist. 

Orthodontic Treatments

Orthodontists want to help their patients feel confident when they smile. It’s very common for teens or young adults to get braces because the oral tissue and teeth are often softer and more responsive to realigning. 

child visiting an orthodontist
Children as young as seven should see an orthodontist.

It may seem young, but the Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommends even children as young as seven should see an orthodontist. There are a lot of early signs these specialists can help detect at an early age with a consultation. For example, if parents notice their child having trouble chewing food or eating in general, this could be a way to detect bite issues early. If crooked teeth or abnormal bites are discovered before a child’s adult teeth are grown, orthodontists can help guide the natural tooth development and prevent these oral issues from developing. 

From youth to adults, all ages can book a consultation with an orthodontist. The wide variety of treatment options available for common oral conditions ensures oral health is inclusive for all. It’s a misconception that braces are large, thick and daunting. As the dental industry has evolved through the years, so have orthodontic treatments. 

Different Treatment Options

Patients now can choose clear-coloured options like Invisalign if they’re looking for a more discreet course of treatment. Invisalign is becoming extremely popular for all age groups because it’s less noticeable and requires less maintenance than traditional braces. In addition, since this treatment doesn’t require as many trips to the orthodontist’s office, it’s perfect for patients with a busy schedule or those who live farther away from an office.

Orthodontists will do their best to ensure the patient is comfortable and well informed on their long-term oral journey. Everyone has different lifestyles, jobs, or commitments, which is why orthodontists want to make sure orthodontic treatment plans are suitable for each patient. 

We only get one set of teeth, and that’s why it’s essential to make them an investment. Deciding to see an orthodontist versus a dentist isn’t an easy decision, but patients should always look for an experienced orthodontist they can trust to help achieve their dream smile. 

Are you looking for an experienced orthodontist in the Edmonton area? Book your virtual consultation with Legacy Orthodontics today to see how our team can help you get your dream smile. 

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