October is Orthodontic Health Month. Which means it’s the best time to celebrate beautiful and healthy smiles. But how do you decide where to get the best treatment to perfect your smile—an orthodontist or a dentist?
First and foremost, dentists are rarely orthodontists (only 6 percent), but all orthodontists are dentists. Both are trained to help patients with oral hygiene and matters related to teeth, but orthodontists actually have an extra 2-3 years of training in addition to general dental school. They use this time to focus on more complex oral issues such as jaw alignment, teeth straightening, malocclusion and more. This special schooling allows them to treat the following problems:
- Crooked smile or teeth
- Misaligned jaws
- Improper bite and chewing food
- Underbite or overbite
- Braces, retainers or other corrective devices
Although you don’t want to see your dentist for straightening your teeth, dentists are still an important part of your oral care. The types of things you should see your dentists for include:
- Teeth cleaning
- Root canals
- Teeth extraction
- Teeth whitening
Dentists and orthodontist work together to make sure you have the healthiest smile, but it’s up to you to make sure you are going in and choosing the best possible specialist for your oral health. It may seem the most convenient to see your regular dentist for orthodontic care, but you should trust your smile to a certified orthodontic specialist.
In honor of Orthodontic Health Month, here are some fun facts about orthodontics! Did you know?
- Orthodontists recommend that children start orthodontic treatment by age 7—at this age, any problems with teeth that can be solved with orthodontics are apparent.
- Straight teeth are linked to higher self-esteem—patients undergoing orthodontic treatment often feel an improvement in their self-confidence. Self-image is important to people of all ages.
- Over 4 million adults in the US are currently wearing braces—while braces may seem most common for children, 25% of braces-wearers are actually adults. A healthy smile has no age limit.
- The most common reason for needing braces is to treat an over bite or an under bite—over and under bites can actually affect facial features like making the chin look small or the face to look short.
- The wires used for braces were developed by NASA—the materials used in dental wire are very reliable. NASA developed the material to maintain their shape after being bent which is perfect for braces!
- Braces have been around for hundreds of years; the first were designed in 1728—the first device was called a “Bandeau,” which acted like a mouth guard.
So while most people use October to celebrate Halloween (and Halloween candy), the British Columbia Society of Orthodontics uses Orthodontic Health Month to spread the word about the importance of oral health. Make a commitment to your health and schedule an appointment with an orthodontist.