Dentist or Orthodontist for Braces?

When it comes to the world of dentistry and orthodontics, many people wrongly assume that the two are interchangeable. While there are many similarities between general dentists and orthodontists, there are also quite a few significant differences to set them apart. If you’re looking into orthodontic treatment like braces for you or your child, it’s important to understand what orthodontists like Dr. Krieger have to offer that dentists don’t. To learn more about those differences, and how to decide which is best for orthodontic treatment like braces, keep reading below!

Education and training

Although all orthodontists and dentists graduate from dental school, orthodontists take a different, more difficult path from there. Once they’ve completed dental school, only the top students in the class will be allowed to continue their education toward a specialty in orthodontics, which requires them to attend additional schooling and training. Acceptance into an orthodontic residency program is extremely competitive! Within this program, orthodontists will undergo an additional two to three years of full-time training that concentrates on orthodontia, including braces, bite problems, and straightening teeth. Most regular dentists will not have this kind of rigorous supplementary training. Orthodontists are essentially dentists who have specialized, additional training.It’s only when a dentist has successfully completed this residency program that they may refer to themselves as an orthodontist.

Are general dentists able to straighten teeth?

The short answer is yes, some general dentists may be able to provide orthodontic care to their patients, but this is only permitted if these dentists commit to taking continuing education seminars and acquiring experience in the subject. For example, general dentists are required to attend specific workshops before they’re allowed to offer a treatment like Invisalign in their practice. However, these workshops and seminars lack the kind of rigorous testing and examinations needed to truly learn such extensive and specific material in depth.

In orthodontics, a more superficial, surface understanding may not always be enough to correctly provide the best possible, long-term treatment for patients.

Are you considering a dentist for orthodontic treatment?

If you’re comfortable with your regular dental practice, it’s not uncommon to consider them for orthodontic care if they offer it. But before signing on to braces treatment with a general dentist, it can be good to ask yourself questions like:

  • Are you confident that your dentist can provide the same level of orthodontic care that a licensed orthodontist would?
  • How much orthodontic training does your dentist have compared to a licensed orthodontist?
  • How many cases like this has your dentist treated in his career?

Has your dentist ever had to refer a case like yours out to a licensed orthodontist?

Unlike general dentists, orthodontists focus solely on orthodontic care and treatment. Since this is our only specialty, we devote a lot of time and energy perfecting it! We often perform teeth straightening procedures daily, make efforts to stay up to date on the latest industry practice, purchase the latest equipment, and continue to participate in orthodontic classes and workshops to keep our skills sharp. Experienced orthodontists like Dr. Krieger also know how important it is to create an individualized treatment method for each patient, while a general dentist may be more inclined to use a one-size-fits-all approach.

Should you choose a dentist or an orthodontist for braces?

If you found that you had a heart condition, would you want to be treated by a primary care doctor, or would you prefer a specialist like a cardiologist? Obviously, a cardiologist would have a great deal more experience where the heart is concerned. This applies to teeth as well. Having a general dentist perform specialized orthodontic work is a bit like a general physician performing open heart surgery. It can be done, but why risk it?

The choice of care provider is always up to you as the patient, and it’s true that some general dentists will have a fair amount of orthodontic experience. Remember, though, that orthodontists focus solely on orthodontic issues, and as such, are much more likely to have had experience in dealing with specific dental issues. Where dentists may develop short-term results and treatment plans, orthodontists are invested in long-term care plans for our patients. We want to see you through your treatment from start to finish and even beyond!

At practices like Krieger Orthodontics, a great deal of emphasis is placed on optimal treatment approaches and how to avoid complications. We’ll be much more likely to recommend such plans, and to notice the small things a dentist might overlook. These are issues that could cost you time, money, and could cause pain should any type of complication develop.

Krieger Orthodontics for all your orthodontic needs

Don’t risk your health and finances by seeking treatment from someone who may have less knowledge, experience, and specialized education. At Krieger Orthodontics, our sole specialty is orthodontics, allowing us to offer our patients the best quality, cost, and efficiency in treatment!

If you’re in Lewisville or the surrounding area, and are interested in braces treatment, give us a call and explore all the ways that an experienced orthodontist can positively impact your smile. With a fantastic and friendly team dedicated to providing personalized treatment that’s affordable, transformative, and efficient,  choose to invest in orthodontic treatment with Krieger Orthodontics, and we promise to invest in you and your smile!