You may have seen ads for ordering invisible aligners online, or your dentist may offer invisible aligners or braces as a service.
It seems easier and possibly cheaper to consider one of these options.
Is there a reason that you need to go to an Orthodontist if you just want straight teeth?
Believe it or not, there actually are a few excellent reasons for having an Orthodontist oversee your treatment when getting your teeth aligned.
The first reason is that an Orthodontist has invested years of their life into learning about properly aligning teeth and correcting all the other factors that produced misaligned teeth.
An Orthodontist has completed their bachelor’s degree then another four years in dental school learning about general dentistry, followed by two to three years in an accredited graduate school program that focuses specifically on orthodontics. During this time, they learn about far more than how to straighten teeth. Orthodontic training includes how the teeth meet, how they are set in the jaw and function together, and the size and position of the upper and lower jaw. An orthodontist has learned about any irregularities of the teeth and jaws and how best to treat them. More importantly, they learn how all these parts work together, and how to create the best functioning alignment for each individual’s mouth.
During this time, they complete over 4,800 hours of orthodontic training. The specialized education and clinical experience create Orthodontists that are experts in diagnosing orthodontic problems, guiding the development of the mouth and lower face, and treatment planning and timing. On top of all this, they learn the best ways to create long-term stability of treatment results.
After completing the educational and clinical experience requirements, an Orthodontist isn’t finished. They still must pass a written and clinical exam to become board certified.
The second reason for seeing an Orthodontist has to do with experience. Not only have Orthodontists invested years into learning how to correct crooked teeth and complex bite and jaw problems, they also treat many patients every single day. This means that they are constantly fine-tuning their experience and knowledge. Additionally, since they are only treating these problems, they see a much wider variety of specific issues. The greater exposure can allow them to instantly identify an issue that a general dentist or pediatric dentist may not even realize exists.
You can think of it this way. Your child has a Pediatrician that monitors their overall health and growth, and you have a Doctor who is familiar with your medical history that monitors your health and treats common ailments. However, you would seek a referral to a dermatologist for skin issues or a suspicious spot, an allergist to diagnose and treat allergies, or a surgeon if your child broke their arm and needed surgery. Why? Because these specialists have spent many extra years in school and training to learn how to treat certain aspects of human health, and they are familiar with diagnosing and treating these conditions because they see them every day.
It is the same concept when choosing to see a Family Dentist, Pediatric Dentist, or an Orthodontist. Your Family Dentist is trained to treat patients of all ages, to monitor oral health, teach you how to maintain oral health and prevent problems, and restore teeth that have been injured or become unhealthy. They may choose to refer children to a Pediatric Dentist. Like an Orthodontist, a Pediatric Dentist has completed an additional two to three years of specialized training, making them an ideal choice for your child. During this time a Pediatric Dentist has focused on dentistry specific to children, including child development, psychology, and techniques that are specifically designed to help children stay calm and alleviate discomfort.
Some general or pediatric dentists do offer braces or invisible aligners, but when it comes to straightening teeth or fixing a misaligned jaw it makes sense to go to an Orthodontist who has invested years into learning the best practices for treating these issues.
The third reason, and perhaps the most important, has to do with the long-term cost to your health and wallet. Well-aligned teeth need more consideration than just the way they look.
You may think that you just need a few teeth straightened, but what if the process of straightening them makes them rub against your bottom teeth in a way that wears down the enamel more quickly? This can allow cavities to form, resulting in the need for fillings or crowns and a greater cost to you over time.
Or, what if the movement of the teeth changes your bite in an unfavorable way that causes TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder could cause a variety of painful problems including chronic headaches, facial pain, earaches, and difficulty chewing.
Another problem is that small amounts of pressure over time moves teeth. While it works to move teeth into an optimal position, it can also move them out of position. You can spend plenty of time and money creating straight teeth, but an Orthodontist knows how to move your teeth and jaws into a position that will hold over time, and not move right back out of place due to the pressure of chewing.
An Orthodontist has the training and experience to identify all the factors involved and create the best treatment plan for you. They will create the straightest possible smile while taking into account the need for a well-aligned bite and healthy mouth structure.
Dr. Culp and our entire team at Jungle Roots have always been strongly committed to our mission of providing the highest quality, comprehensive children’s dental care experience available. We have intentionally created a fun, child-friendly place where your child can have a dental home that is safe, exciting, soothing, and comfortable. Recognizing that it is easier for your children to keep all their dental services under one roof, one year ago we expanded our services and hired an orthodontic team to provide orthodontic treatment for your entire family. Our Orthodontist, Dr. Peterson, is an active member of the American Association of Orthodontists and the American Dental Association and holds the same commitment to providing excellent care as the rest of our team. We have found that integrating orthodontic services is highly beneficial to the families whose children call Jungle Roots their dental home and allows seamless coordination for your child’s overall dental care. If anyone in your family is considering orthodontic treatment, we would be privileged to schedule a complimentary orthodontic consultation. We can’t wait to get started on your smile!
At Jungle Roots Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics, we strive to provide the highest comprehensive pediatric and orthodontic dental care in a unique, fun-filled environment staffed by a team of caring, energetic professionals. We believe the establishment of a “dental home” at an early age is the key to a lifetime of positive visits to the dentist.