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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 Marielaina Perrone DDS Dentist Vs Orthodontist Las Vegas NVto 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

-Teeth Whitening

-Dental Implants (placement and restoration)

-Basic Orthodontics

Orthodontists provide services related to:

-Misaligned Teeth

-Crowded Teeth

-Overbite

-Underbite

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.

Financial Concerns?

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.




Over 50,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oropharyngeal or oral cancer this year alone. It will cause almost 10,000 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day for the entire year. Of those 50,000 or so newly diagnosed oral cancer cases, about 57% will be alive in 5 years. The death rate of oral cancer is higher than that of cancers which we routinely hear about such as cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, testicular cancer, and many others. Worldwide the problem is far greater, with over 450,000 new cases being found each year.

The death rate for oral cancer is particularly high not because it is hard to discover or diagnose, but due to this type of cancer being routinely discovered in its later stages. In many cases oral cancer is only discovered when the cancer has metastasized to another location, most likely the lymph nodes of the neck. Prognosis at this stage of discovery is significantly worse than when it is caught in a localized intra oral area. Besides the metastasis the primary tumor has had time to invade deep into local structures.

Oral cancer can develop silently because it generally does not produce pain or symptoms initially. For patients who survive the first bout with oral cancer, they have a 20x higher risk of developing a 2nd oral cancer. This increased risk usually tuns 5-10 years after initial treatment. 90% of all oral cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. In the past, the majority of oral cancer was found in older males who drank and smoked heavily. Now, due to HPV (human papilloma virus), cancer affect anyone , male or female, even  healthy, non-smoking, non- drinking young adults.

The treatment of oral cancer very often produces major changes in speech, chewing, swallowing and oral health, which in addition to the disease, affects the social life and self confidence of the person afflicted with oral cancer.

Can Oral Cancer Be Detected Early?

While difficult it can be possible. Detection relies upon a good dentist who has tools that can help the diagnosis. One such tool is called the Velscope enhanced oral assessement tool. The Velscope oral cancer Marielaina Perrone DDSVELscope light technology uses fluorescence of the tissues to allows detection of changes of the oral tissues in a non-evasive manner. This gives your dentist an extra view into your tissues beyond a thorough head and neck examination. These examination should be performed routinely at your dental visits.

The VELscope technology does not have the ability to diagnose oral cancer by itself, but is used for additional information along with a thorough head and neck examination by your dentist. The VELscope will not determine whether or not the change in oral tissues is cancerous. It simply cannot replace a surgical biopsy. It simply aids in finding abnormalities not visible to the naked eye that may require further examination.

I personally never charge anything extra for use of the VELscope system. It is too important a tool to not use it on every patient that undergoes treatment in my office. When it comes to possibly saving lives I feel we should provide the highest level of care along with the latest technology to do the job. VELscope is that tool. Marielaina Perrone DDS

Is the Velscope the perfect tool?, no…..but it is better to refer someone to the oral surgeon for a oral biopsy then to have completely missed the early warning signs. The VELscope is a tool that gives us added information above a normal examination and should be the standard of care in every dental office. The other important preventive is to be vaccinated against HPV at a young age so that you don’t get infected.

Different Types Of Oral Cancer

-Squamous cell carcinoma: Over 90% of oral cancers are of the squamous cell carcinoma variety. Normally, the throat and mouth are lined with squamous cells, which are flat and arranged in a scale-like way. Squamous cell carcinoma means that some squamous cells have become abnormal and changed from their normal state.

-Verrucous carcinoma: Around 5% of all oral cavity tumors are verrucous carcinoma. This is a type of very slow growing cancer made up of squamous cells. This type of oral cancer rarely spreads to other parts of the body, but can invade the tissue surrounding the site where it began.

-Minor salivary gland carcinomas: This category includes several types of oral cancers that can develop in the minor salivary glands. These glands are found throughout the lining of the mouth and throat. This type of carcinoma includes adenoid cystic carcinoma, mucoepidermoid carcinoma, and polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma.

-Lymphomas: These are oral cancers that develop in lymph tissue (part of the immune system) are known as lymphomas. The tonsils and base of the tongue both contain lymphoid tissue. 

-Benign oral cavity and oropharyngeal tumors: Several types of non-cancerous tumors and tumor-like conditions can arise in the oral cavity and throat. Sometimes, these nonOral Cancer Screening Las Vegas Marielaina Perrone DDS cancerous conditions may develop into oral cancer. For this reason, benign tumors, which usually do not recur, are often removed surgically.

-Leukoplakia and erythroplakia: With leukoplakia, a white area can be seen, and with erythroplakia, there is a red area, flat or slightly raised, that often bleeds when scraped. Both conditions may be precancerous; that is, they can develop into different types of cancer. When these conditions occur, a biopsy or other test is done to determine whether the cells are cancerous. About 25% of cases of leukoplakia are either cancerous when first discovered or become precancerous. Erythroplakia is usually more serious, with about 70% of cases cancerous either at the time of diagnosis or later.

Known Links To Oral Cancer

Medicine is not entirely sure exactly what causes oral cancer, but they have found links that put some people more at risk.

-HPV (human papilloma virus): Contact with HPV 16 (a sexually transmitted disease) has been found to be linked to certain oral cancers.

-Age: Oral cancer risk increases with age; It is predominantly seen in people 40 and over.

-Tobacco: The majority of cancer cases are associated with some form of tobacco use, specifically cigarette smoking.

-Alcohol: Heavy alcohol consumption increases the risk of oral cancer and those risks are even greater with combined use of alcohol and cigarettes.

-Diet: A diet that lacks proper nutrition such as vegetables and fruits can increase the risk of oral cancer (as well as other types of cancer).

-Exposure To Sun: Cancers of the lip can been caused by exposure to the sun.

Oral Cancer Symptoms

-A persistent sore throat that does not get better over time.

-Loose teeth.

-Increased difficulty swallowing.

-Increased difficulty chewing.

-Lump in lining of mouth.

-White or reddish patch inside mouth or on the lips.

-Pain in the Jaws.

-Tongue pain or numbness.

-A feeling that something is caught in your throat (even though nothing is there).

Oral Cancer Treatment

If during your routine dental examination, your dentist finds anything out of the ordinary or suspicious they will recommend that you have a biopsy performed of that area. The biopsy of the lesion will be used to confirm the diagnosis of cancer. If it is confirmed that you do indeed have oral cancer you will probably be referred to an oral surgeon for removal of the tumors. Radiation or chemotherapy may be also used in the course of your oral cancer treatment.

Oral Cancer Conclusion

As dentists we play an important role in patients’ oral and overall health. Detecting possible hidden lesions before they have the chance to progress will most definitely save lives. It is a proven fact that the detection of oral cancer in its early stages makes up an important facet of oral cancer prevention and is the key to survival.




The effects of poor dental hygiene can range from tooth decay to periodontal disease, and loss of teeth. Luckily, maintaining a good dental hygiene regimen, including regular professional teeth cleaning and dental examinations can prevent most of these problems.

If you choose not to maintain good dental habits (including brushing and flossing), you are putting yourself at increased risk for tooth decay. Earliest signs of tooth decay may include pain when you bite and feelings of sensitivity or pain in your teeth.

Cleaning teeth on a regular basis also helps prevent progression of periodontal disease from gingivitis(earliest form) to advanced periodontitis.

If you do develop tooth decay and/or periodontal disease as a result of your poor dental hygiene, you may be amass extensive bills for anything from simple fillings or crowns to more costly and complicated procedures such as root canals or oral surgery.

Is Dental Treatment Expensive?

Dental treatment costs can vary based on how much work is needed to fix your individual issues. The cost of routine visits for professional cleanings and dental examinations is low. Consider it insurance against major issues arising.

Recommended Dental Care Routine

Keep your teeth clean and cavity-free by following a regular dental care routine of tooth brushing 2x/day and at least flossing once a day. And visit your dental professional every 6 months for a professional cleaning and thorough examination to catch any problems before they become serious. Your dentist or dental hygienist might also recommend a particular type of toothbrush, dental floss or oral rinse based on your individual needs to help you get the most out of your daily dental care regimen.

Lifestyle Choices

-Diet (Nutrition)

maintaining a proper and nutritious balanced diet not only helps keep your overall body healthy, but your mouth as well. Nutrition plays an important role in the health and cleanliness of your teeth, gums and mouth.

-Moderate Soda, Coffee and Alcohol

-Drink Tap Water When Possible

For many bottled water is the main source of drinking water, you could be missing the benefits of fluoride in your water.

-Monitor Your Low Carbohydrate Diet

Low carbohydrate diets can cause bad breath. A balanced, dental-healthy diet can help reduce tooth decay as well as keep our breath fresh.

-Increase Your Calcium Intake

After age 20, both men and women lose more bone mass than they form so it is important to restore lost calcium with a daily supplement and by eating fruits and vegetables high in calcium, such as dark leafy greens. These foods will also help to lower the acid buildup in the saliva that can lead to breakdown of tooth enamel.

-Daily Dose of Vitamins C and D

Vitamin C and D help support the absorption of healthy mouth minerals such as calcium and phosphorous, which support the bone and gum tissue, keeping it healthy. This is a fairly easy way to maintain dental hygiene and fight periodontal disease.

-Remove Tobacco

In addition to staining teeth, smoking interrupts calcium absorption in the body and can also cause potentially disease such as oral cancer. Stop smoking and enjoy the health benefits as well as a healthy, beautiful smile.

Conclusion

Maintaining a healthy smile does not have to be hard. It is all about routines and regular maintenance. As soon as an issue arises see your dentist for a thorough examination to avoid further issues down the road.