Each time we experience a dental challenge or discomfort of any sort in our mouth, the first course of action would be to visit the dentist nearest to us. Of course you may already know that self-medication for dental discomfort – as with all other diseases and abnormalities of the body – is never advised. Experts are trained to know about your potential health challenge. They are also in the best position to advise and recommend befitting treatment for these conditions.
But here, we are talking about care of the mouth and it turns out that not everyone understands the specific type of expert to see for each condition. The gums, tonsils and teeth (arrangement) all have a dental specialist who is most suitable to take on them. No one dentist is skilled on all forms dental challenges.
First Things First
Now, I’d like to assume that you – the reader of this article – do take good care of your dental health and general body heath overall. But we all know that even the highest level of personal dental care or hygiene may still not be able to make an individual totally free from these diseases. Even if that was achievable, there can be accidental trauma to the mouth which would necessitate dental care.
So, when your teeth or tongue or tonsils or any part of your mouth hurts, the first thing to do is to visit the dentist nearest to the place you live. It is the dentist that will either take care of the situation or refer you to the type of dentist that will get the job done. You heard that correctly. “Type of dentist. What that means is that no one dentist takes care of all types of dental conditions.
Different types of dentists treat different types of dental conditions and the one we are focusing on here is the orthodontist.
Who is an Orthodontist?
Simply put, an orthodontist is a dental specialist who has been trained to professionally diagnose and treat abnormal arrangements in human dentition and even face.
As you may have observed, most people have a regular dentition. An arrangement in which the incisors align properly in the mouth, followed by the canines, then premolars and the molars. However, some people are just not fortunate enough to have this beautiful arrangement. Some people’s teeth are either too long or pointing to the wrong direction or resting on/beside the complimentary tooth/teeth.
This results in an obvious below-average look when the individual smiles or has any reason to open the mouth. For some people, a poor arrangement makes them outright ugly and unsightly. This is where the orthodontist comes in. Their services require special training. Hence, there aren’t many orthodontists in the world. But to get an idea, search Google or any search engine for anyone near you. For instance, you could search for “orthodontic specialist in New York”, “orthodontist Northampton”, ‘orthodontists in Sydney” etc
How Orthodontists Differ From Dentists
It is safe to say that all orthodontists are dentists but not all dentists are orthodontists. This is because to become an orthodontist, one must first become a dentist. The training to become a dentist could take anywhere from 5 to 6 years depending on the country. After dental training in the university – of course this comprises of both academic work and practical clinical rotations – the graduate may then be accepted into the given country’s dental board so long the graduate had previously satisfied all prerequisites for acceptance.
Now, the certified dentist becomes the first point of contact for every person within his or her jurisdiction who develops dental problems. However, the orthodontist is the dentist who has undertaken extra training which can last up to 5 years. This training equips the orthodontist with enough knowledge and skill to carefully and efficiently provide solutions which help patients with orthodontic challenges. So, think of the dentist as a general practitioner and the orthodontist as a cardiologist or nephrologist or doctor that has chosen a specialty.
What Do You Do Now?
So which doctor do you visit and for what kind of dental need? Let’s take a look. If you wake up one morning with some sudden pain in your teeth, the first person to meet is your dentist. If you are struggling with halitosis (bad breath) or some injuries to the gum and mouth in general, feel free to walk into the nearest dental practice you can find. The dentist will point you to the right dental specialist if the situation isn’t something that is within his jurisdiction.
But the orthodontist is already a dentist! This means he can take care of both orthodontic cases and general dental cases. Keep in mind that many dental diseases can be easily managed if the dental expert diagnoses them early. Early diagnoses is only possible if people take dental checkups very seriously.