Do I need an orthodontist or a dentist?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist who diagnoses and treats teeth and jaw misalignments. So while you continue to have regular check-ups with your dentist to look after general dental hygiene and issues that affect your teeth, mouth and gums, a visit to the orthodontist usually means you have a problem with the appearance and uniformity of your teeth.
It is important to know the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist and when you should seek treatment from each.
As with most areas of medicine, there are general practitioners who are multi-skilled and specialists who are highly trained in one specific area. As far as qualifications go, both dentists and orthodontists complete a 5-year Bachelor of Dentistry degree. However, orthodontists then go on to study for an additional 3-years to gain a Doctorate in Orthodontics and need to register as a specialist.
Many dentists become interested in orthodontics and take short courses to help them correctly diagnose when complex orthodontic treatment is required, however they do not receive adequate training to actually administer treatment.
When it comes to the care of your teeth, receiving treatment from the appropriate professional is vital. There are in fact 13 dental specialties approved in Australia. Just as an orthodontist defers to a periodontist or endodontist when patients require treatment in those specialty areas, your dentist should refer you to an orthodontist to treat teeth and jaw alignment issues.
For most patients, best results are in fact achieved when their dentist works in partnership with an orthodontist. Orthodontists may treat you for cosmetic procedures including jaw alignment, crowding, spacing or bite issues related to your facial profile, however the overall health of your teeth and gums is a critical part of delivering a good outcome.
As no referral is required for either dentists or orthodontists, it can be up to patients to understand the kind of treatment they need before making an appointment. If you have a good relationship with your dentist and maintain your regular check-ups, they will be able to advise you when an issue arises that requires the help of a specialist.
To find out more about the services provided by Whyte Orthodontics, visit our website or contact our friendly staff.