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Dentist vs Orthodontist: Why you should choose an Orthodontist for orthodontic treatment

The American Association of Orthodontist recommends that all children have an orthodontic consultation by the age of seven to evaluate their growth, and look for potential issues, etc. First and foremost, you want to make sure that the orthodontist you choose is American Board Certified.

What does that mean? A board certified orthodontist is an orthodontist who has voluntarily gone through hundreds of additional hours of preparation to prove their judgment, skills and knowledge required for providing the highest level of patient care.

It is important to understand that choosing an orthodontist should be a process and not a rushed decision. Understand that treatment time is usually between one to two years, meaning this is a commitment. You want to try and find what you feel is the best fit and where you will receive the highest quality care so here are a few tips to keep in mind: Always ask around to your family and friends for recommendations. If you hear an orthodontists name more than once take note.

Consult your trusted dentist for referral as well. Your dentist may suggest that he or she can do your braces or orthodontic treatment for a cheaper price and less time. Although a dentist is a highly qualified professional at providing your dental health needs, dentists do not receive significant training in orthodontics. For orthodontic care, the ASO does not recommend that you risk seeing someone who is not an orthodontic specialist.  An orthodontist is a specialist who has three years of additional education from a University and is an expert in straightening teeth. There are many general dentists offering what initially appears to be “cheap” treatment; six month braces; one-size-fits-all solutions; treatments to supposedly avoid braces; or offering quick, rapid or fast treatments. Majority of the courses that general dentists attend to learn more about orthodontics is only for a day or two.

It is important to understand that yes, some dentists have taken a few course hours to learn how to do Invisalign or other types of treatment, but that does not make them a specialist nor an orthodontist. Would you get heart surgery from a doctor who only operated on hearts once or twice a year? Of course not! Orthodontists first go to dental school and become dentists. After, they attend an Orthodontic program for several more years to learn specifically about tooth movement, jaw function, and facial aesthetics. If your treatment is complicated and is not done properly, you could possibly end up needing to go to an orthodontist to finish your treatment, which will cost you a lot more money in the long run.
Remember, it is always safer to go with the specialist for your needs. You’ll be glad you did!