As two of the major players in the general field of dentistry, the main ethos of dentists and orthodontists is to improve your oral health and create, care for and maintain a great smile. Often, we work together, with our services complementing each other as part of a wider commitment to oral care.
Here’s an insight into how dentists and orthodontists are different, why you need to see both, and how we work together to look after your smile.
Akin to the GP of the dental world, a dentist is a skilled practitioner who looks after the regular health of your teeth and gums.
Their expertise lies in the day-to-day treatment and preventative maintenance of oral health, undertaking tasks such as scaling, cleaning, fillings and diagnosing other common problems that affect your teeth and gums. Some even offer cosmetic procedures such as crowns and veneers.
Chances are you see your dentist regularly or at least you should. Six-monthly check-ups are the recommended minimum.
When it comes to teeth straightening, the formation of the jaw and its alignment, that’s where an orthodontist steps in.
Orthodontists are registered and specialist experts with additional training in orthodontics, facial growth and development, biology and biomechanics. They have an extra three years full-time training in this specialty along with a general dentistry degree.
All orthodontists have practised dentistry in the field prior to embarking on their specialisation, and only the best of the best are permitted to study orthodontics.
As the Australian Society of Orthodontists explains: “Orthodontists are facial growth and dental development experts. They diagnose and treat crooked teeth, bad bites and poorly aligned jaws.”
Why you would see an orthodontist
The main reason people see an orthodontist is to treat crooked teeth or a misaligned bite, however an orthodontist’s expertise goes far beyond just creating a beautiful smile. Because their skill lies in correcting jaw and teeth positioning, they can also assist with sleep disorders like snoring, teeth grinding, and even speech impediments.
The reality is you don’t see either an orthodontist or a dentist, you should see both as part of a commitment to your oral health.
The first visit to a dentist should occur around the age of two, the first visit to an orthodontist around the age of seven.
Seeing an orthodontist at this early age allows them to flag any potential problems and take preventative measures if required.
It’s important to note that even if you are undergoing orthodontic work, when it comes to cleaning and general teeth maintenance, your dentist looks after the general wellbeing of your teeth and gums.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking to have your teeth straightened or to undergo other orthodontic procedures, the skill of a highly trained orthodontist is a necessity.
Behind the scenes, both practitioners foster this working relationship. For example, your dentist might refer you to an orthodontist, (although a referral is not a requirement for you to come and see us) or your orthodontist might liaise with your dentist about your oral health.
And often the work of one will act to support the other. For example, straight teeth help you and your dentist better care for your oral hygiene throughout the course of your life.
The upshot is, together we have your best oral health at heart, working to create a great smile that can be cared for, maintained and ultimately improve your general wellbeing for life.
About Norwest Orthodontics
Norwest Orthodontics specialises in helping you achieve a great smile, no matter your age. We feature a range of orthodontic treatments that span from early intervention right through to remedial adult work.
We also have a suite of treatments available that include discrete, removable Invisalign braces, and welcome the opportunity to work with you to achieve the smile you’ve always dreamed of.
You can learn more about our services, or contact us to make an appointment.