If you’re considering orthodontic treatment for yourself or your family, you may be asking, “Should I see a dentist or an orthodontist for Invisalign?” Many people are unsure of the differences between dentists and orthodontists and may wrongly assume the two are interchangeable. Though there are many similarities, there are also quite a few differences that set them apart. Orthodontic treatment, like Invisalign, is a big commitment and a significant investment. That’s why it’s essential to understand what orthodontists, like our doctors at Reichheld Ting Orthodontics, offer that general dentists don’t. Keep reading to learn more about these differences and how to decide which option is best for your Invisalign smile journey!
Education and training
Orthodontists and dentists follow the same educational path up until graduating from dental school. From there, orthodontists embark on a different journey, attending extra years of schooling to focus only on orthodontia. Orthodontists are essentially dentists who are highly trained in proper skeletal development, occlusion and tooth movement.
Acceptance into an orthodontic residency program is very competitive, with only the top students in a dental school class continuing their education toward a specialty in orthodontics. Once accepted, these students will undergo an additional two to three years of full-time training that concentrates on the field of orthodontia. This training focuses on proper growth and development, bite problems, occlusion, braces, Invisalign and other methods of straightening teeth. Only after a dentist has successfully completed this residency program can they begin operating as a licensed orthodontist. Our doctors, Dr. Jay, Dr. Steve, Dr. Brian, Dr. Tim, and Dr. Steve Jr., take pride in their in-depth knowledge and experience caring for many generations of smiles in the Acton, Billerica, Lowell, and Westford, MA, areas. We won’t list out their many years of education and qualifications here, but you can get to know them better by taking a look at what makes them extremely qualified for your personalized care by viewing their bios on our website!
Are general dentists able to straighten teeth?
The short answer is yes. There are exceptions to every rule, and some general dentists will take on the same kind of rigorous training orthodontists experience after completing dental school. After this, they may be able to provide orthodontic care to their patients. However, this is only permitted if the dentist has committed to taking continuing education seminars and acquiring extra experience in the subject.
An example of this would be Invisalign’s requirement that general dentists attend specific workshops before they’re allowed to offer this treatment in their practice. While this does give dentists basic knowledge on a subject, it isn’t exactly a perfect system. These workshops and seminars are typically only one day long and often lack the kind of in-depth testing and knowledge-base needed to truly learn such an extensive field of study. Where orthodontic treatment is concerned, a limited understanding of the subject isn’t always enough to be able to provide the best possible treatment for individual patients.
Considering a dentist for orthodontic treatment
If you find that your primary care dentist offers orthodontic care, it’s only natural to consider using them for treatment. Before choosing to move forward with Invisalign by your dentist, however, consider that an orthodontist:
- has the the appropriate training, expertise, experience and knowledge to treat a variety of different malocclusions
- is able to provide more treatment options tailored to what is best for your particular case
- will have experience treating multiple cases similar to your own unique concerns and anatomical characteristics
- can use elastic bands or other adjuncts to Invisalign treatment that general dentists may not be familiar with or comfortable with to achieve the best result possible
- can be more efficient at treatments with less scheduled visits since this is their focused area of care
- can deliver the best possible outcome on your treatment plan, especially if you have dental issues that are more complicated or severe
Because orthodontists focus solely on orthodontic care and treatment, we devote a great deal of time and energy to perfecting our specialty and honing our craft! We perform tooth straightening procedures daily, keep up to date on the latest industry practice and research, purchase cutting-edge equipment, and our orthodontists here at Reichheld Ting Orthodontics take advantage of as many continuing education courses as we can throughout the year. As experienced orthodontists, we know how to create the best individualized treatment method for each patient. General dentists may be more inclined to use a one-size-fits-all approach.
Should you choose a dentist or an orthodontist for Invisalign?
The choice of care provider is always up to you as the patient. Some general dentists have a fair amount of orthodontic knowledge and experience. Others do not. With your care, you always want to make sure you find out how much training your provider has before getting started. Our orthodontists have years of training in tooth movement. They do not perform cleanings, fillings, crowns or general dental care. They are only focused on your orthodontic issues and esthetic concerns. If you suddenly found yourself in need of open heart surgery, would your first choice of physician be your primary care doctor – or an experienced cardiologist? A cardiologist will naturally have a great deal more experience where heart-related issues are concerned. This approach applies to teeth as well. Improper orthodontic care can lead to recession, bone loss, tooth loss, jaw and bite problems. With so much on the line, why wouldn’t you trust it to a specialist?
Reichheld Ting Orthodontics is proud to be a Top 1% VIP Diamond Plus Invisalign provider. This status is the highest proficiency level and certification recognized by the company that makes Invisalign, Align Technology. This designation places Reichheld Ting Orthodontics at the pinnacle of clear aligner treatment and separates us from 99% of practices in the US. Our certification means you will achieve the best results possible, and you won’t want to receive Invisalign treatment from anyone else!
Invisalign with Reichheld Ting Orthodontics is the clear path to a straight smile!
Because our sole specialty is orthodontics, we guarantee we’ll give you the best quality, cost, and efficiency in treatment. If you’re interested in seeing this kind of specialized care in action, schedule your FREE consultation at one of our convenient offices in Acton, Billerica, Lowell, or Westford, MA. After your initial exam, our orthodontists will be able to outline a personalized treatment plan for you and explore with you how orthodontic treatment could benefit your smile. Our team is here to see you through your treatment from start to finish, and beyond, so you can Live Life Smiling every day. Let’s get started!