Do you really need to see an orthodontist for braces? Why choose an orthodontist over your family dentist? Dr. Wes Chladny of Spring Hill’s Dr. Wes Orthodontics answers this commonly asked question. Here’s what he has to say…
Q: “My dentist does braces and Invisalign®, why would I need an orthodontist?”
Dr. Wes says:
Good question. Thanks for asking. To begin, braces and Invisalign are products used by orthodontists, as well as some dentists, to straighten teeth and correct bites. The products themselves are similar regardless of the office, so it might seem logical that it doesn’t really matter where you go to get them. However––and I cannot emphasize this enough––the majority of the fees you pay for treatment are not for the braces or Invisalign products themselves. Instead, you are largely paying for the professional service of orthodontic treatment. Orthodontics is much more than straightening teeth and proper treatment can be quite complicated and challenging. Therefore, it is the provider of that professional service that is the most important consideration and differentiator.
Orthodontists are specialists in the growth and development of the face and jaws, alignment of teeth, and the correction of bite problems. They receive an additional 2-3 years of training beyond dental school to develop expertise in the dental specialty of orthodontics. Additionally, orthodontists have more experience in straightening teeth and correcting bites than any other dental professional because orthodontics is the only service they offer.
Some dentists offer orthodontic services but they do not have the advanced education and training in orthodontics that an orthodontist has. Dentists also offer numerous other general dental services in addition to orthodontics, which limits the experience they can achieve treating orthodontic problems. This does not mean that some dentists are not capable of correcting certain orthodontic problems. That being said, I would strongly recommend that patients or parents at least schedule a consultation with an orthodontist before beginning any orthodontic treatment.
Consultations with orthodontists are typically complimentary, so patients are able to get an expert opinion without incurring any expense or making any commitment. This is a valuable service that I would encourage people to take advantage of before making decisions about treatment, and you do not need to have a referral to schedule a consultation with most orthodontists.
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