You already know how important regular dental visits are for your family, but did you know that orthodontists can also play an essential role in the proper development of the teeth and jaws? While there are many similarities between these two dental professions, there are also some significant differences. It helps to understand a bit more about each in order to make an informed decision when it comes to your oral health. Here at Murray & Olson Orthodontics, we believe educated patients make the best partners as we work towards a more confident smile. Keep reading to learn why you should trust your family’s smiles to an orthodontist!
What are the main differences between a dentist and an orthodontist?
Orthodontists and dentists both begin their careers in dental school, but their paths diverge after graduation. To become a dentist, a person must complete four years of undergraduate education and four years of dental school before passing a rigorous written exam and clinical licensing exam.
Orthodontics is a dental specialty that requires additional training. These courses go beyond basic dental training and have a specific focus on diagnosing and correcting orthodontic issues. This additional education includes a two- or three-year residency and almost 5,000 hours of orthodontic training! Only about 6 percent of dentists go on to become orthodontists, which means that most general dentists won’t possess this level of intense orthodontic training and experience.
To put it simply, a dentist is looking at a patient’s overall oral health. Regular checkups help them identify and treat many oral hygiene problems, like cavities and gum disease. They’re also able to improve the function and appearance of a patient’s teeth through crowns, veneers, and other cosmetic treatments. Dentists are trained to spot signs of oral disease and can give you all the advice you need on how to maintain your oral health.
Orthodontists like Dr. Murray and Dr. Olson provide more specialized care. They are trained in various methods to align the jaws and move the teeth, so they are able to correct orthodontic issues like crowded teeth, overbites, and misalignments, to name just a few. They are able to do this using orthodontic appliances such as traditional braces, clear aligners, and expanders.
Here at Murray & Olson Orthodontics, our doctors create a customized treatment plan for each and every patient based on their specific needs, lifestyle, and goals. This personalized care guarantees the best results!
When should you see an orthodontist?
In some cases, there is an overlap in the services dentists and orthodontists are offering. All dentists receive some basic orthodontic training at school, and some are even capable of providing basic orthodontic care to their patients, like braces or clear aligners. In general, however, a dentist won’t have the expansive education, training, or experience that an orthodontist has.
What does that mean for you and your family? If someone develops a toothache or cavity, your dentist should be the first stop. But if you’re dealing with a misalignment between the teeth and jaw, crooked teeth, or other issues with oral development, a certified orthodontic specialist is your best bet!
That being said, if your family dentist offers orthodontic care, it makes sense that you would consider them as your first option. You’re already familiar with their office and team, and who doesn’t prefer the familiar to the unknown? But before you move forward with orthodontic treatment by your dentist, take a moment to consider what an experienced orthodontist can offer you, including:
- a wider variety of treatment options
- a customized treatment plan built around your unique smile
- more efficient treatments and visits, since orthodontics is the main focus
- the best possible outcome for your smile, especially if you have a severe or complex case
Our practice has only one focus—providing world-class orthodontic care to patients of all ages throughout Visalia. Our team puts a great deal of time, energy, and dedication into perfecting our techniques and service! Our doctors perform teeth-straightening procedures daily, and our Visalia office takes advantage of the most cutting-edge techniques and technology. This means our patients can achieve superior results in the shortest amount of time possible.
Choose Murray & Olson Orthodontics for all your smile needs
Murray & Olson Orthodontics is committed to providing every patient with a stress-free and positive orthodontic experience from start to finish. Since our specialty is orthodontics, we have the experience and expertise necessary to give you a wide range of affordable treatment options, unmatched service, and a confident smile you’ll want to share with everyone around you!
If you’d like to learn more about what orthodontics has to offer you and your family, we’d love to meet you. When you schedule a consultation at our Visalia office, you’ll receive a thorough examination by one of our experienced doctors. After this exam, they’ll walk you through any issues detected and outline a personalized treatment plan for you.
This no-pressure appointment is free of charge, and there are no worries if you decide not to pursue orthodontic treatment immediately. Our team will still be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you might have to help you make an informed decision! You and your family deserve a lifetime of healthy smiles, so get in touch today to schedule your free consultation.