Dentist Vs Orthodontist – Which To Choose?
There are many misconceptions between dental specialties as the lines become blurred. Many services that were only done by specialists are now routine in a family dental office. These procedure include dental implants, root canal therapy, and orthodontics. A family dentist vs orthodontist begin with same basic training in dental school and then the paths diverge following graduation from dental school. Read below for further clarification on dentist vs orthodontist.
Dentist Vs Orthodontist Education And Training
Following 4 years of dental school, a dentist has multiple paths to go forward into their future career. They can enter private practice or they can complete a dental residency for advanced training or they can go on to further schooling to specialize in a particular specialty branch of dentistry. These specialties can include oral surgery, periodontics, or orthodontics.
Those who choose to specialize will apply to graduate programs in the field of their choice. Between 6 and 8% of all dental school graduates go on to become orthodontists. Orthodontic training continues from the basics learned in dental school and narrows the focus to a branch of dentistry dealing with irregularities of the teeth (such as malocclusion) and their correction (as by braces). That definition comes directly from Merriam Webster. Both are extremely important to ensure your mouth functions properly when eating and chewing. If your teeth are crooked or your jaws are misaligned this can cause digestive problems and dental hygiene issues, such as gingivitis (gum disease). It can also make it difficult to clean your teeth properly.The extended training takes between 2-3 years and adds about 5,000 hours of orthodontic training. Orthodontists have many techniques and dental materials at their disposal to help them move the teeth and jaws into proper alignment, including traditional braces, lingual braces (attached on inside of teeth) and clear aligners (like Invisalign), among other orthodontic appliances. Because every patient has their own unique alignment issues, orthodontists use X-rays and pictures of the teeth to create personalized treatment plans. These plans can be simple to very extensive depending on the issues with your smile.
Family dentists treat patients’ overall oral and dental health. Through routine checkups, dentists can detect and treat cavities, periodontal disease, and oral hygiene problems, and they can also extract teeth as necessary. Dentists also can improve the function and cosmetic appearance of teeth with the following services: tooth bonding, porcelain or composite veneers or dental crowns to teeth that are broken, chipped, misshapen or have been affected severely by tooth decay. Your dentist will also evaluate the tissues inside your mouth for signs of oral diseases (such as oral cancer) and gives advice on how to maintain your oral health. If your dentist notices a problem beyond the scope of their education, they will refer you to a dental specialist or physician as they see fit. An orthodontist is one of those specialists your dentist may refer you to for further treatment.
Choosing Between Dentist Vs Orthodontist
When choosing dentist vs orthodontist there will be some overlap between dental services offered. Many family dentists will also offer some orthodontic services to their patients. Orthodontists are only able to offer services that fall under their specialty. A dentist can perform orthodontics but an orthodontist cannot treat periodontal disease or fabricate a dental crown. This is a major difference in the dentist vs orthodontist debate.
Dentist Vs Orthodontist Treatments Offered
Family dentist services can include but not limited to the following:
-Treatment and Restoration of Tooth decay
-Root Canal Therapy
-Treatment of Periodontal Disease
-Dental Crowns and Dental Bridges
-Porcelain and Composite Veneers
-Dental Implants (placement and restoration)
Orthodontists provide services related to:
Dentist Vs Orthodontist Conclusion
A dentist should be your go to for all your dental needs. An orthodontist will be necessary when your dentist decides treatment behind their scope is needed. An orthodontist is someone you will see for a fairly short time while a dentist will be someone you will see for a lifetime to maintain healthy teeth and gum tissues. The dentist vs orthodontist question is not a battle but a partnership. They work hand in hand to deliver high quality dental care to their patients.
The standard of care for professional dental cleanings has long been every 6 months. This still holds true today for most patients. Studies have repeatedly shown that those who goto regular dental visits are less likely to have the need for a dental restoration or to have a tooth removed.
Are Teeth Cleanings Necessary?
While for many at home care can be a breeze for many others it is a constant struggle. Our daily lives can get in the way of even the simplest tasks including our oral hygiene. Regular professional teeth cleaning removes plaque, the soft yellowish build-up, and calculus (hardened plaque) that we are just not able to get to. This soft build-up is made up of billions of different types of bacteria that live and reproduce in our mouth by feeding on the food we eat releasing acids that if left alone will damage our teeth and periodontal tissues.
Most bacteria co exist in our bodies without causing too much trouble to our health and well being. But certain bacteria in dental plaque, when they grow in numbers, can lead to tooth decay or periodontal disease.
A professional dental cleaning will reduce your chances of developing tooth decay or periodontal disease by significantly reducing the amount of plaque, calculus, and bacteria in your mouth.
How Often Is Acceptable?
As a dentist, my patients often ask me how regularly they should come in to get their teeth cleaned. My response is usually: “That depends”. For most of the population every 6 months is the right number. But there are those who just cannot maintain dental hygiene on their own or they develop calculus faster than others. So for those patients I will recommend a schedule of every 3 months. 2 extra visits a year to maintain your dental health should not feel like a lot. This will reduce chances of tooth decay and periodontal disease development in these patients over the long haul.
Factors Affecting Dental Hygiene
We know certain lifestyle choices can affect a person’s risk of developing tooth decay and periodontal disease. Following are some questions you may ask yourself to understand whether you are at an increased risk:
-Does your drinking water contain Fluoride? Is this your main source of drinking water?
-Do you frequently snack, including on sweets?
-Are you a regular flosser?
-Do you brush your teeth at least twice a day?
-Do you visit your dentist for toothaches rather than routine examinations?
-Have you had multiple teeth with tooth decay at your last few dental visits?
-Is your dentist “watching” a lot of teeth with early tooth decay?
-Do you have to wear a denture or undergoing orthodontic treatment?
-Do you develop excessive amounts of calculus quickly?
-Do you suffer from a chronic long-term health condition such as diabetes?
-Do you suffer from a xerostomia (dry mouth)?
If you were able to answer “yes” to most of the questions above, you are likely to need to see your dentist or hygienist at least every six months, if not more often based on your dentist’s recommendations. Following a professional cleaning, people prone to tooth decay can benefit from the fluoride treatment following removal of plaque and calculus. Studies have shown that professional fluoride treatment every six months can lead to about a 30% reduction in the development of tooth decay.
Dental Health = Overall Health
Some patients with chronic health issues such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes will need to see their dentists more frequently. This is because they are much more susceptible to periodontal disease.
Patients taking blood thinners and other medications, such as for osteoporosis, may need to visit the dentist more regularly as well. These medications can complicate the process of an tooth extraction or other dental work, so regular checks and cleanings are best to help detect problems before they become serious.
The cost of seeing your dentist and dental hygienist 2-4 times per year will be far less than restoring your teeth over the long run. Routine dental health maintenance is the best insurance you have to maintain a healthy smile.
Protecting your smile
Parents often wish to set a good example for their children by making regular check and cleaning appointments for the whole family. In the end, only you can choose what you feel is right for you. Maintaining a healthy smile that will last a lifetime is important to most people.
Energy and sports drinks have become quite popular among teenagers and athletes in the last decade or so. While they are being consumed in large quantities do we know the effect tey may have on our dental health? Well recent research out of Britain may have the answer for us.
Dental Health Study Of Elite Athletes + Energy Drinks
In a recent study, published in the British Dental Journal, it was found that elite athletes tend to have higher rates of dental disease (including periodontal disease and tooth decay). This finding is quite surprising because the researchers also found that these same athletes brush and floss their teeth more often than the average person.
The research included a survey of 352 Olympic and professional athletes across 11 sports (These included cycling, swimming, rugby, football, rowing, hockey, and sailing). The athletes were given thorough dental examinations for male and female athletes measuring 3 dental health factors: tooth decay, periodontal health and tooth enamel erosion. The research team also noted what the athletes did to try to keep their mouth, teeth and gums healthy.
These dental examinations revealed surprising results. They found substantial amounts of dental and oral disease. They found that almost half (49.1%) of the elite athletes had untreated tooth decay, a large majority showed early signs of periodontal disease (gingivitis), and about a third (32%) reported that their oral health had a negative impact on their athletic training and performance.
These findings were quite surprising as the research team also showed that these athletes were making valid attempts to aintain dental health. This study found that 94% of the elite athletes reported brushing their teeth at least 2x a day, and 44% reported regularly flossing their teeth. When compared with the general population these numbers are much higher. The general population brushes 2x per day at about a 75% rate while only 21% floss regularly. So the elite athletes were making an honest and diligent attempt to maintain their smiles.
The survey however did find that the elite athletes are regular users of sports drinks (87%), energy bars (59%) and energy gels (70%), which have been shown in prior research studies to damage teeth and periodontal tissues.
“We found that a majority of the athletes in our survey already have good oral health related habits in as much as they brush their teeth twice a day, visit the dentist regularly, don’t smoke and have a healthy general diet,” said researcher Dr Julie Gallagher (UCL Eastman Dental Institute Centre for Oral Health and Performance).
“However, they use sports drinks, energy gels and bars frequently during training and competition; the sugar in these products increases the risk of tooth decay and the acidity of them increases the risk of tooth enamel erosion. This could be contributing to the high levels of tooth decay and acid erosion we saw during the dental check-ups.”
As for hope for the future, the surveyed athletes almost unanimously said they would consider adopting even better oral hygiene habits to tackle this and a future research study has already begun.
Dental Hygiene Checklist
-Brush, Floss, Rinse Daily. Brushing at least 2 times per day for a minimum of 2 minutes each time added with flossing at least one time per day and rinsing with an antibacterial or fluoride rinse will be a great foundation to a healthy smile.
-Avoid Sugary Foods And Drinks (including energy and sports drinks). Foods and drinks high in sugar give the bacteria in the mouth the nutrition it needs to create an acidic environment inside your mouth and can lead to increased incidence of tooth decay.
-Consume Plenty Of Vitamin C. A diet deficient in vitamin C can lead to oral health issues. This can include loose teeth and bleeding or inflamed gum tissues. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits. Important to note that citrus fruits are highly acidic so you should rinse your mouth with water following to neutralize the acids so as not to harm your teeth.
-Select Crunchy Foods. While not a replacement for dental floss, eating hard, crunchy raw foods (like carrots, celery, nuts, and apples) can naturally clean your teeth as well as freshen your breath.
-Get Your Daily Amount Of Calcium. This will not only keep your teeth strong but also the bones in your body to keep going thru sporting events. Good sources of Calcium include milk, cheese, and soybeans. Also, ensure you get enough vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium properly. A good source of vitamin D is from the sun. So get outside and exercise harder!
-Drink Lots Of Water. Drinking water throughout the day will keep your teeth and body healthy and hydrated. Water is far better for you than any other beverage you can drink. Rinsing after every meal or snack with water will help maintain your dental health. The water can neutralize the acids being produced by the oral bacteria. This will in turn limit the amount of tooth decay that can occur.
-Routine Dental Examinations. Seems like an easy one but often neglected as we get busy. It is important to not only get your teeth professionally cleaned but also to diagnose and repair any problems while in their earliest stages.
Dental Health Conclusion
This study shines a light on the dangers of energy and sport drinks. If an elite athlete is feeling the effects the general population would be hit even harder. If you are going to partake in these beverages follow up with good dental hygiene to keep your smile happy and healthy.
Orthodontic braces have become a modern dental tool to recreate our smiles in the image we all want. many believe, orthodontic braces was a dental treatment reserved only for children. Rapid advancement in orthodontic techniques and materials have led to changes in the appearance of orthodontic appliances, and given dentists the ability to increase the speed of movement of our teeth. Orthodontics have become an ideal treatment choice for many teens and adults (even seniors). There are multiple options for orthodontic treatment today to make them as cosmetic as possible with markedly shorter treatment lengths to go along with an improved cosmetic appearance. What are some common questions patients have about orthodontic braces? Below you will find many of them:
What Is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the treatment of irregularities in the teeth (especially of alignment and occlusion) and jaws, including the use of braces.
Are Orthodontic Braces Just For Children and Teenagers?
According to the Orthodontic Association numbers about 1 in 5 (20%) of all orthodontic patients is an adult. This shows it is never too late to begin orthodontic treatment to correct various issues. These could include crowded or crooked teeth, temperomandibular joint disorders (TMJ), underbites, or even overbites. The process for adults and kids is the same but adults will present some challenges as expected. Children and adolescents are growing while adults are not. For adults, that window of opportunity has closed so treatment may take longer for adults.
What Is The Best Age To Get Orthodontic Braces?
While there is no “perfect” age. For children and teens it is usually between the ages of 10 and 14. The exact time depends on each individual’s tooth eruption schedule. With that said orthodontic braces are highly effective in older teens and adults as well. Any age is available provided the patient is healthy both systemically and dentally.
No. Modern orthodontics have made many advancements in both techniques and dental materials to allow for many attractive options. You can go colored or clear or even ceramic tooth colored brackets. Or you can go almost invisible using invisalign type retainers. Bottom line the capability is there to fit any needs and desires cosmetically.
How Long Should I Expect Orthodontic Treatment To Last?
The average length of treatment for most kids is 1-3 years. This can vary quite a bit from individual to individual based on severity of their particular case. Other factors come into play as well including dental hygiene maintenance, following dentist instructions, avoiding foods that can cause complications (example gum and gummy bears), and maintaining regular dentist schedule.
Are All Orthodontic Braces Treatment Uncomfortable and Painful?
No. Will there be some discomfort and pain as teeth are shifting…..yes. But that pain and discomfort should be quite temporary. If it is not speak to your dentist or orthodontist immediately.
Are Orthodontic Braces Only Cosmetic?
While they can be a very cosmetic procedure there are many functional benefits as well. Straighter teeth will be easier to keep clean. This will lead to better dental hygiene and decreased risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease. Orthodontic braces can also correct skeletal issues which can equal reduced jaw pain and easier chewing by patient.
What Causes The Need For Orthodontic Braces?
Orthodontic problems are usually genetic. This means you inherited them from your parents. Issues can also occur through developmental factors. A few of the most commonly inherited conditions include crooked teeth and crowded teeth. Developmental factors such as thumb sucking and the premature loss of baby or permanent teeth can also cause the need for orthodontic braces.
Are There Alternatives To Orthodontic Braces?
Some Adults choose porcelain veneers instead of orthodontic braces to straighten the front teeth. This is a good cosmetic dentistry alternative, however, this will not correct many issues associated with orthodontic treatment.
Do You Still Need To See Your Dentist While Undergoing Treatment With Orthodontic Braces?
Orthodontic Braces Conclusion
Orthodontic treatment can be a major undertaking for many patients. There is a huge time and cost commitment from every patient. The more educated you are, the easier the decision will be.