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Why Seek Treatment from an Orthodontist?


All orthodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are orthodontists.  In order to become a dentist, one must complete the necessary college requirements and be accepted to dental school.  After completing a four-year dental school curriculum and successfully completing a state or regional board exam a dental school graduate is eligible to practice as a general dentist.  However, in order to practice as an orthodontist, one must complete an additional 2-3 years of specialty training.  Approximatley 1 in 6 dentists are orthodontists.  An orthodontist is trained to diagnose and treat dentofacial abnormalities as well as malocclusions (crooked teeth).  Orthodontics is a very specialized area of dentistry and those who have received additional training are best equipped to provide orthodontic treatment.  As a matter of fact, orthodontics was the first officially recognized specialty of the field dentistry.


In today's demanding economy many patients are searching for more cost effective treatment options or options that address a minor problem in a time-effective manner.  As a result, there are certain products on the market that advertise quicker treatment that cost less than what an orthodontist can provide.  These systems require that a general dentist participate in a weekend course.  When beginning treatment the general dentist will take impressions to make models of the patient's teeth to mail to a particular company of his or her choice.  The company will then place the brackets on the models sent by the dentist to hold the brackets in place thereby allowing the dentist to glue the brackets to the teeth.  Often times they will also determine what wires the dentist will use to straighten the teeth.  This "faster" treatment really is nothing new. Orthodontic specialists have always had the ability to do this and refer to this type of treatment as limited treatment.  Because of the advanced 2-3 years of training orthodontists receive, they are able to do limited treatment without having to depend on a third party to assist in treating the case, because an orthdontist specializes in treating these types of cases as well those difficult cases that most general dentists choose not to treat.  So, if you trust an orthodontist to treat the difficult cases, why wouldn't you trust him or her to treat the easy cases? In many instances the orthodontist can provide the treatment in a lesser amount of time in just as cost-effective means.  Also, because of the advanced training an orthodontists receives, he or she is usually the best one to diagnose the case comprehensively.  What often-times appears to be a minor issue may acutally be caused by an underlining problem that only one with the proper training will be able to detect.  So, before you decide on treatment, seek the opinion of a specialist, because faster may not always mean better. 

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