You could liken the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist to that between the head chef of a famous five-star restaurant and a renowned French pastry chef. Both individuals have equally important roles, but are defined by what they specialize in.
Understanding the respective roles of both can help you to make the best choices about your oral health. This is very much the same as when what you’re hungry for determines which chef’s restaurant you will visit!
An orthodontist actually first receives the same training any other dentist would. After deciding that the science of tooth alignment is what fascinates their mind, he or she goes on to study for a few more years. This gives them the certification to offer treatment specific to orthodontic needs. This individual also receives advanced education for handling complicated cases of orthodontic problems. After certification, many choose to stop practicing restorative and cosmetic dentistry and they focus strictly on providing tooth-straightening services.
Dentists generally do not go on to receive the same specialized certification that orthodontists do. Instead, they stick to the broad-scale area of treating and preventing dental disease. Some focus specifically on the cosmetic aspect – the art of creating a beautiful smile. Dentist are capable of providing orthodontic service, however. In general, dentists serve as the holistic care providers of the every dental need of most people.
It’s good to keep in mind that you can benefit from the services of both. There are certain things one can offer that the other doesn’t. For example, a dentist can provide you with dental restorations, special cleanings, and beautiful enhancements to your smile which an orthodontist simply doesn’t have time for.
On the other hand, if an orthodontic case is particularly complex, a dentist may choose to refer a patient to an orthodontist so that the patient can benefit from a more advanced degree of expertise.
You should also be aware that there are some dental diseases and conditions, which prevent orthodontic treatment from being effective until they are cleared up. Some orthodontists may even choose to not place braces until your teeth are thoroughly cleaned! Serious tooth and gum disease could rage unnoticed if braces are placed before you’ve had a proper dental exam.
Plan your priorities accordingly! Make sure that you are getting thorough and regular dental examinations along with cleanings. This is especially important if you plan to have treatment with an orthodontist.
Your orthodontic needs may be minimal to moderate. Start out by having a consultation with Dr. Lance Timmerman to see whether your smile could benefit from cosmetic orthodontics in our office. He will check the overall condition of your oral health, address major problems (like aesthetic concerns,) and make suggestions for enhancing the beauty of your smile. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Lance Timmerman at his Seattle office by calling today.
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