Whenever you feel like there’s something wrong with your oral health—a toothache, a developing cavity, bleeding gums, difficulty with chewing, etc.—you automatically think, I need to pay a visit to the dentist.
That’s the logical reaction since people have been taught since they were children that the dentist is the professional to see for your dental needs. But are you sure that every dental issue can be solved by your trusted family dentist? Is it possible that you may benefit more from someone who’s more of a specialist?
Learning the difference
There are two different professionals that you can approach for a solution to your dental issues: a dentist and an orthodontist. To help you find out whether simple dental procedures are what you need, or more specialized procedures in orthodontics, Mesa dental specialists provide a helpful comparison below.
When to see a dentist
Dentists are your primary care provider when it comes to your teeth. They diagnose conditions, propose and perform treatments and procedures, and help you manage your overall dental health. You go to dentists for check-ups, routine cleaning, cavity filling, and x-rays, to name a few.
Some of the treatments that you can receive from a dentist are: teeth extractions, teeth whitening, fillings, dentures, crowns, bridges, veneers, root canals, and gum care procedures.
Do you need to visit an orthodontist?
In some patients, dentists may observe that your teeth need realignment. This issue is no longer included in a dentist’s area of expertise, so he will refer the patient to an orthodontist.
Orthodontists specialize in the alignment of a person’s teeth and jaws. If you have been diagnosed with a bad bite or a malocclusion, or if you have the potential of developing such an issue, an orthodontist will make use of non-surgical procedures to prevent or treat the misalignment.
Examples of malocclusions are overbites, underbites, overcrowded teeth, or gaps in between teeth. These dental problems can be corrected via a number of corrective devices including wires, retainers and braces. Most people are familiar with traditional metal braces which can be worn by adolescents and even adults to correct their teeth; these are devices that your orthodontist can recommend. There are also more modern solutions, like the clear plastic retainers from Invisalign which offer a less visible and less uncomfortable way to realign teeth.
Not only will undergoing correction of your teeth and the position of your jaw leave you with a prettier smile, but it will also help lower your risk of gum disease, tooth decay and damage to facial joints and muscles.
Dentists and orthodontists may offer different services, but their goal is the same: to help you achieve better dental health and an improved smile. So remember to pay a visit to your dentist at least twice a year to check for any issues that may need solutions.