Finding an orthodontist is important for maintaining the health of your teeth. Before you seek one, you need to know what the difference between a dentist and orthodontist is. A dentist deals with a wide range of dental problems. He can fill cavities, recommend solutions for discolored or chipped teeth etc.
An orthodontist on the other hand is a specialist that deals with certain dental problems such as straightening teeth and recommending specialized solutions to your dental problems. He undergoes an additional three years of training before he can legally practice. Therefore he is more qualified than your regular dentist.
Finding a Specialist
If you are looking for an orthodontist you should make sure that that person is actually an orthodontist and not just a dentist who does similar procedures. There is a clear distinction between the two that many people are oblivious of. Here are some of the differences.
- Orthodontists go through a specially designed program to become specialists.
- They spend an additional three years learning how to carry out these procedures with precision.
- They have to get close to 6000 hours of hands on clinical experience before they can be certified.
The above are just some of the things that differentiate a dentist from an orthodontist. In essence, the main reason you need a specialist is because they have hands on skills to perform procedures such as braces.
Since an orthodontist is a practitioner with very specialized knowledge. You need to establish that they have genuine credentials. One way to do this is to visit a site such as mylifemysmile.org. The site lists specialist who have gotten training from an accredited program. They also have to be members of the AAO (American Association of Orthodontist).
The AAO website lists qualified practitioners who have become board members. To be board certified an orthodontist needs to go through hours of examination to test their skills and judgment. For an orthodontist to take this step, it shows the confidence they have in their skill. You can find if the orthodontist is a member by visiting this site americanboardortho.com.
Some dentists perform procedures that are typically meant for orthodontist. There are also orthodontists that do not perform these procedures and will refer you to a qualified practitioner after you visit their clinics. Some of those procedures include things like root canals and braces to align teeth.
You can get referrals but you have to make sure they are primary care dentists. Some of them may try to talk you into having the procedures done in their clinics. But you can still find primary care dentists who can refer you to a qualified practitioner.
Sometimes parents want to have their children’s teeth corrected at a young age. Choose an orthodontist who is qualified to treat people of all ages. There are specialists who are trained in early orthodontic treatment. Choose a specialist who can treat the whole family so that you don’t have to start the process all over again in case some else in the family needs the attention of an orthodontics practitioner.
Professional orthodontists will prepare the fee structure of everything you will be expected to pay. This could include consultation, x-rays, retainers etc. It is very convenient to get these fees spelt out before you can proceed. However, not all of them will prepare the breakdown of costs. You may need to ask for the fees. You will also need to watch out for hidden fees before you proceed. The extra time you spend trying to find the right orthodontist is necessary and will pay off in terms of better dental care for you and your family.
Written by Dr. Darren Wittenberger, is the best orthodontists in Columbia MO, and owner of his own practice, Advance Orthodontics. Dr. Wittenberger enjoys sharing his expertise to ensure people can maintain the healthiest, straightest teeth possible!