What is an Orthodontist?
Orthodontists Are Dental Specialists that are Experts in Moving Teeth.
- Orthodontists diagnose, prevent, intercept, and treat dental and facial irregularities. These problems may include teeth that are crowded or too far apart, teeth that meet abnormally or don’t meet at all, teeth that stick out, and mismatched jaws or skeletal problems.
- Orthodontists can treat existing problems, and can also identify problems that are developing. Resolving these problems before they fully develop is highly beneficial to patients.
- Orthodontists treat patients of all ages, they regularly treat children, adolescents, and adults.
Can a General Dentist Provide Orthodontic Treatment?
- Without any formal training, General Dentists can provide any dental service and procedure that they feel comfortable performing. However, General Dentists often focus on more general dental issues and have little to no experience or training to perform tasks that are specific to orthodontics. Typically a General Dentist might treat a few patients in dental school, but often, dental graduates do not feel comfortable doing orthodontics.
- Invisalign is often employed by General Dentists as a means to offer orthodontic treatment to their patients. The advantage of this treatment for dentists is they can rely on the Lab Technicians to establish the treatment plan to move the teeth. The Dentist needs only to follow the Lab's plan and monitor the patient periodically. Unfortunately, due to their lack of training and experience, General Dentists oftentimes assume the role of a rubber stamp, approving the tooth movement plans of the lab technicians. This can lead to less than ideal treatment results. Companies like Smile Direct Club and other DIY aligner companies have taken advantage of this disturbing trend.
- Some Dentists will take a weekend course to learn how to treat limited cases with braces. These type of course help dentists know how to place braces and treat very simple orthodontic cases.
- Practice makes perfect. A dentist that offers orthodontics may see 0-10 orthodontic cases a month. By contrast, an orthodontist sees anywhere from 60-90 cases in a single day! This kind of experience, and the knowledge that comes from it, gives an orthodontist an unmatched ability to focus on the details that make a truly beautiful smile.
How Does a Dentist Become an Orthodontic Specialist?
- To become a General Dentist: a student must complete 4 years of undergraduate education at a College or University, complete the DAT, Dental Admissions Test, a 4 hour and 15 minute test with questions about biology, chemistry, math, reading, and perceptual ability, complete 4 years of Dental School (this typically includes hundreds of hours studying the biological sciences, working in the dental lab, and practicing on dental patients), pass Part I and Part II of the National Dental Board Exam, and pass a regional hand-on Board Exam completing dental work on live patients.
- After completion of all of the above, Orthodontists spend an additional 2-3 years as residents at Dental Schools and Hospital Programs studying, training, practicing moving teeth, and learning the advanced principles involving creating beautiful smiles and excellent occlusion. Upon completion, they receive a Specialty Certificate in Orthodontics.
Orthodontists are tooth moving experts! They have specialized training in moving teeth. They are experts at utilizing braces, clear aligners, and functional appliances to correct dental and skeletal abnormalities.
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