I Trust my Dentist for Braces. Is That Okay?

We all know we need to go to the dentist regularly for check-ups, cleaning, cavities, etc. We’re taught this, most of the time, from a very young age, and even rewarded with suckers if it’s a good dentist (I still get those). But, what happens when we find out that our teeth, or our kids’ teeth, are misshapen or misaligned? Is it time to freak out and call an orthodontist and struggle for an appointment? Do we need a specialist that we probably don’t know to dig around in our mouths, rather than the usual dentist we’re used to? Well, let’s find out.

Orthodontics is a specialized variety of dentistry. It deals with appliances and fittings like braces, retainers, maintainers, headgear, etc. We use it to fix everything from crooked teeth, to sever over- and under-bites. Orthodontists usually take a few extra years in school to specialize in these devices and there is a standard of quality that must be met. However, this does not prevent your general dentist from performing orthodontic work.

Your general practice dentist may provide you with any of these appliances if they feel that they are able. This is completely up to you as the patient and what the dentist wants to do. There are cities across the United States where general practice dentists actually do a lot more orthodontics than the local specialists. On the other hand, some dentists will recommend patients to orthodontists, simply because they don’t like doing the work. That’s okay.

It can be said that an orthodontist would give the best and longest lasting work. I don’t know if that is always true. Many opinion pieces say things like this. However, they are found on websites, and seem to lambaste general practitioners for doing orthodontics. When reading these articles, I felt like I was being called stupid for thinking it’s okay to trust my own dentist, and told that he and his job were stupid.

You may find stories about how people have gotten braces and such from a dentist, and then had to have them fixed by an orthodontist, because they were put in the wrong. You can also find this from one specialist to another, however. Orthodontists do have more formal training by far. However, the decision to have your regular dentist fool around in your mouth, or a stranger, is for you and your dentist to decide.

At the end of the day, we’re talking about your personal mouth. I know I’d rather have my dentist in it than a stranger. However, you may prefer the specialized touch of someone with a few more years of training. There is nothing concrete saying that you specifically do or do not have to go to an orthodontist. I would say, talk to your doctor, research the local specialists, and ask friends and family if they have any experience with any specific doctor. Like most medical decisions, you want the best you can get, and that just takes a little research.