Orthodontist v. dentist

Danielle Bauer Wheaton orthodontist

The difference between a Dentist and an Orthodontist

Why is it so important to see an orthodontic specialist for
braces as opposed to your general dentist?
A qualified orthodontic specialist must first receive his/her doctorate in general dentistry – the same as the general dentist. Then, they must complete an additional three years of graduate training in orthodontics at an American Dental Association approved, university affiliated program. As a specialist, the orthodontist limits his/her practice exclusively to orthodontic treatments. If a dental
practitioner is practicing general dentistry and providing orthodontic services, he/she is not an approved specialist in orthodontics.
An orthodontist received extensive training in growth and development of the bones and teeth, and is better equipped to properly diagnose and treat problems with the jaws and teeth!
While many people consider orthodontics as just “straightening crooked teeth,” there is really so much more.  As an orthodontist, I look at the developing bones of the upper and lower jaws, the bones and gums surrounding the teeth, the specialized x-rays we take (the panoramic x-ray and the cephalometric x-ray) to further evaluate the harmony of all these things together.  Lastly, we are treating FACES, not teeth – so therefore I must look at how the lips relate to the teeth and how to best treat each person based upon their FACIAL NEEDS!!  For example, this patient wanted straighter teeth and to fix her smile:
Please look at how much of her gums she shows when smiling-this is something that needs to be addressed and diagnosed properly from day 1 or the results will not be optimal.  A general dentist may not catch this or evaluate this because they do not have the specialty training to realize the complexity of this case.  This patient came to me after being treated by her general dentist
because she was unhappy with the outcome because all he did was align her teeth.
I have been asked several times about early treatment at a young age (age 7-9 years old) and how this works and who gets it.  The answer to that is fairly complex but is partially answered here.
Your family dentist is excellent at achieving your needs for  esthetic concerns such as fillings in the front teeth, crowns, veneers, replacement of missing teeth (such as implants), but a specialist in ORTHODONTICS is best equipped to handle the growth and development of the jaws and facial harmony required for a successful orthodontic case.



This is a big issue I deal with a lot.  6 months is too short of a time to complete braces in children or adults.  Part of having braces is not only aligning your teeth, but achieving a good functional
bite.  Placement of braces for 6 months cannot accomplish all these things; in fact, the bite gets altered significantly in the first few months of treatment, thus leaving you with fairly straight teeth, but an uncomfortable bite that you may not accept.  As an orthodontist, I see this a lot and patients have to come to me to have things fixed.  So, you end up paying twice and going through
braces twice.  Beware of these “quick fixes,” as many times they turn out to be longer than a regular 18 months worth of braces!
If you have any questions on any of these topics, we would love to discuss this with you!  Please call our office to set up your complimentary consultation!!
Danielle Bauer DDS, MS