Should I see a dentist or an orthodontist?

Are you unhappy with the alignment of your teeth or the appearance of your smile? If so, then you may be wondering what you can do to improve your smile. Luckily,  An orthodontist is a type of dental specialist who can work wonders on your teeth and give you the confidence to smile brightly. From […]

Are you unhappy with the alignment of your teeth or the appearance of your smile? If so, then you may be wondering what you can do to improve your smile. Luckily,  An orthodontist is a type of dental specialist who can work wonders on your teeth and give you the confidence to smile brightly. From treatments like braces to Invisalign®, orthodontists can help you get a healthier, more beautiful smile.

While it is best to get some treatments from a bona fide specialist, there are many orthodontic treatments that patients can pursue with a general dentist. If you’re interested in treatments like Invisalign, then you can get easy and affordable care with the team at Lakewood Dental Group. A comprehensive consultation with Dr. Mihir Patel and Dr. Shaun Sigurdson can help you find the best orthodontic solutions for you. Call our Dallas, TX, dentists now at (214) 827-1885!

In this blog, we explore the world of orthodontics and answer some common questions that many people have. From understanding what an orthodontist does to debunking myths about age limitations and pain, we provide you with an in-depth overview of orthodontic treatments and their benefits.

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental professional who specializes in identifying, preventing, and treating dental and facial anomalies. Their main focus is related to the proper alignment of their patients’ teeth and jaws. Orthodontists can accomplish this with the help of specialized gear and apparatuses to help make tiny adjustments to the teeth and jaws over time.  

An orthodontic specialist undergoes the same training as general dentists at dental school. After completing dental school, however, orthodontists undergo additional years of specialized training to become experts in the field of orthodontics. Their primary goal is to create a harmonious balance between teeth, jaws, and facial structures. By establishing better balance among these structures, patients can significantly improve both their oral health and aesthetics.

Orthodontist vs. Dentist: Are they the same?

While both orthodontists and dentists work in the fascinating field of oral health, there are significant differences between the two. Typically, a dentist provides more generalized oral care, such as:

  • Cleanings
  • Fillings
  • Extractions

In contrast, an orthodontist specializes in straightening teeth, correcting misaligned bites, and aligning jaws to improve overall oral function and appearance. Think of orthodontics as a specialized branch within the broader field of dentistry.

Sometimes, a general dentist will offer simple orthodontic treatments in their clinics. For example, many family dentists in Dallas offer Invisalign treatments for patients with mild to moderate alignment issues. In fact, Lakewood Dental Group is one of the top providers of Invisalign in the Lakewood and Dallas areas! 

So, you may not always need to visit an orthodontist to fix a mildly crooked smile. Your family dentists may be able to provide the same level of treatment at a more affordable rate, saving you valuable time and money.

Orthodontic Treatments: What can orthodontists provide?

Orthodontists offer a range of treatments to address various dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontic care can vary in complexity, with many treatments requiring months or even years to completely remediate oral irregularities. 

The most common treatment is dental braces. Traditionally, braces treatment involves using wires, brackets, and bands to gradually shift teeth into their proper positions. That’s why braces can correct:

  • Crowded teeth
  • Unevenly spaced teeth
  • Overbites
  • Underbites
  • Crossbites
  • Other bite issues

In addition to traditional braces, orthodontists may offer alternatives such as clear aligners (also known as invisible braces). Clear aligners are removable, nearly-invisible trays that fit over a patient’s teeth to gradually move them into better alignment. These aligners are popular among adults and teenagers due to their aesthetic appeal and convenience.

Orthodontists can also provide other specialized treatments, including:

  • Jaw realignment through orthognathic surgery
  • Orthodontic appliances for early intervention in children
  • Retention strategies to ensure long-lasting results after the active treatment phase

Can you be too young or too old for orthodontics?

Usually, orthodontic treatment is not limited by age. In fact, it is common for children to undergo orthodontic assessments as early as age seven to detect and correct potential problems before they become more severe. Dental professionals refer to this as phase one orthodontic treatment, and it may be recommended even if the child has a mix of permanent and baby teeth.

Early intervention with phase one orthodontic treatment can guide the growth and development of the jaw. In turn, it can help create enough space for permanent teeth, reducing the need for more extensive treatments later. In fact, this study found that phase one treatment can significantly reduce the need for complex orthodontic procedures in the future, effectively cutting costs for patients and insurers

Adults can also benefit from orthodontics, and it is never too late to seek treatment. Advancements in orthodontic technology (such as clear aligners) have made it easier and more discreet for adults to achieve the smile they desire. Age should never be a deterrent to seeking orthodontic treatment, so don’t be afraid to ask your dentist if smile-correcting care is right for you!

Do orthodontic treatments hurt?

Orthodontic treatments may cause some discomfort, particularly in the initial stages or after adjustments. It is normal to experience soreness, tenderness, or mild pain as your teeth gradually shift into their new positions

However, any discomfort is typically temporary and can be managed with;

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Wax to alleviate irritation from braces
  • Or by following your orthodontist’s recommendations

How much does it cost to visit an orthodontist?

The cost of orthodontic treatment varies depending on several factors, including:

  • The complexity of the case
  • The type of treatment
  • The duration of the treatment plan
  • The orthodontist’s experience level and geographical location 

During your initial consultation, an orthodontist assesses your specific needs and provides you with a customized treatment plan. This should include a breakdown of the associated costs so that you can make a fully-informed decision.

Many orthodontists offer flexible payment plans to make treatment more affordable (check out our financing options and membership plans!). Additionally, some dental insurance plans provide coverage for orthodontic treatment. So, it is essential to check with your insurance provider to understand your benefits.

Dentists and Orthodontists in Dallas, TX

Orthodontics can provide you with a straighter, healthier smile and improved oral function. Orthodontists are highly skilled professionals dedicated to helping patients of all ages achieve optimal dental alignment and facial harmony. But so are the dentists at Lakewood Dental Group! 

Contact our dentists in Dallas, TX, today to see which orthodontic treatments may be right for you. Contact us online anytime, or give us a quick ring at (214) 827-1885 to set up your consultation now!

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