Question: Can general dentists "do the braces" and get the same high-quality results as Orthodontists? Recent clinical studies published in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics show that the treatment results by general dentists are inferior to the results of Orthodontists. That's probably not a surprise to you.
It is unfortunate that some general dentists believe that a weekend course will teach them to treat patients to the same, healthy, high-quality standards as an Orthodontist that has had three years of advanced training AFTER dental school! The current clinical research disagrees. Sad for the patients who think they are getting high-quality treatment by an Orthodontist, but actually are having their braces done by an undertrained, general dentist.
Think about this for a moment. Your family doctor would never think of performing heart or eye surgery; specialists are relegated to those complex treatments! For some reason, this logic does not apply to general dentists doing orthodontics, because many general dentists are dabbling with braces without having the advanced training of a specialist! Quite simply, Orthodontists are specialists, regular dentists are not! When a regular dentist "does orthodontics," it is what the general dentist does not know about orthodontics that will affect your result and your dental health for the rest of your life!!!
One problem we see is if successful treatment calls for crooked, permanent teeth to be removed and they are not, the gentle, continuous, tooth-moving wires used with modern braces will gently push the front teeth forward, possibly right off the jawbone! Have you ever seen patients after their braces were removed and they have too big of a smile for their face or "horsey" protruding teeth? Teeth will not stay in this unhealthy, unnaturally protruded position. Teeth moved to this unstable position is one reason why some general dentists will "glue" the upper or lower front teeth together after they "do the braces." What will happen to these teeth in a few years if you cannot clean them easily or properly? Orthodontists understand these risks and consequences and are the best-educated to make the right choices.
Here is another problem we've encountered. Jaw orthopedics, ("stretching," expansion, or growth modification procedures) to try to fit all the permament teeth on the jawbone can be beneficial in special circumstances; however, if done at the wrong time, on the wrong patient, by the wrong person, if done improperly, or if tried when it should never have been attempted, then severe dental-health problems can be caused by jaw orthopedics.
This begs the question, why risk the long-term, orthodontic health of your child by trusting a general dentist to "do" the braces? In short, see an Orthodontist for the best chance to have your orthodontic treatment done right the first time, because NO ONE ever wants to have braces done twice!
All Orthodontists are dentists, but only 6% of dentists are Orthodontists. Unfortunately, many patients get braces by general dentists and think they are getting treated by an Orthodontist! Most importantly, ask the dentist that will be doing your orthodontic treatment, "Are you an Orthodontist?" Any attempts to answer with anything but "Yes" should make you reconsider seriously your choice. Visit the American Association of Orthodontists website for more information. www.braces.org
Call Dr. Gary Carter, a certified Orthodontist, for an exquisite smile that is personalized, naturally beautiful, healthy, and easy to maintain.
If excellence is available, good is not enough!
© 2008 Gary A. Carter, D.D.S., M.S. all rights reserved