One thing is certain when shopping for braces providers: you are not likely to run out of options. With dozens of doctors offering orthodontic treatment, how do you know which one is right for you and your family? After all, you want to make sure you are receiving the highest level of care for your loved ones. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, you are better off choosing a specialist for all your teeth-straightening needs. Here, we will explore 10 reasons why.
#1: More Education
A general dentist must successfully complete a program at an accredited four-year dental school. Upon graduation, he or she either becomes a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). After obtaining this degree, any doctor choosing to practice a specialty must go on to complete another two to three years of focused education during their residency.
#2: More Training
In addition to receiving more education, a specialist has far more training when compared to a general dentist. Although many doctors advertise braces, it is important to understand that, unless they are a licensed orthodontist, they have only undergone minimal training in the field. In fact, it is possible for a dentist to attend a weekend course or seminar, and then begin placing braces the following Monday. This is often surprising for many people, but it is a common practice.
#3: More Experience
Once a doctor enters a residency program, he or she is trained solely in their chosen field. This means that by the time an orthodontist in the woodlands obtains their license to practice, they already have more experience than the average general dentist.
#4: A Comprehensive Approach
When most people think of braces, they think about straightening teeth. But the field of orthodontics offers so much more than that. During a braces assessment, a specialist evaluates the teeth, gums, jaw joints, facial aesthetics, and all surrounding oral and maxillofacial structures. All of these elements work together harmoniously for optimal oral health. Therefore, when you receive treatment at a specialty practice, your teeth will be straightened, your bite function will be improved, and your jaw joints will be aligned.
#5: More Treatment Options
Many general dentists only offer limited teeth-straightening options. For example, some doctors just provide Invisalign®, while others may only place metal braces. The fact is, every patient is unique. Therefore, personalized treatment plans are often necessary to provide the highest level of care. A specialist can determine which option will work most effectively in your situation.
#6: Optimal Value
The old adage “you get what you pay for” applies here. Many patients fall into the trap of choosing a general dentist because the fees are slightly lower. However, it is important to understand that braces are an investment, just like any other procedure. Choosing a provider with extensive knowledge, skill, and training may cost more money up front, but a specialist can usually save you a tremendous amount of cost and worry in the future.
#7: The Best of Both Worlds
One does well what one does often. General dentists are skillfully trained in placing fillings, crowns, bridges, and other treatments in restorative dentistry. They are also well-versed in prevention and can help you maintain healthy teeth and gums for years to come. If a specialist places your braces, you will typically continue to see your general dentist throughout your treatment.
#8: Expert Communication Through Digital Technology
It often takes an entire dental team to provide the highest quality of care. It is not uncommon for dental specialists to stay in communication with your general dentist throughout the course of treatment. Best of all, records can be shared electronically between offices so everyone is always on the same page.
#9: Trained in the Latest Techniques
Every dental specialty is constantly evolving. Making it a priority to stay up to date with the latest technologies and techniques, specialists routinely attend courses in continuing education, so they can offer the utmost care to their patients.
#10: Specialists Know What to Expect
Because each person is unique, treatment outcomes can vary for every individual. A specialist is skilled in a variety of complex cases and can anticipate any emerging issues. Therefore, he or she can know what to expect during and after your treatment, giving you the best chance for optimal results.
Taking the first step to your new smile is a commitment and an investment. Choosing an orthodontist over a dentist can ensure you are receiving quality care that will offer long-lasting benefits.