Who should be straightening my teeth: my dentist, an orthodontist, or myself?
There seem to be so many options when it comes to straightening teeth. Certain direct to consumer dental brands are telling you that you can straighten your teeth without stepping a foot outside your home; your dentist insists that he or she can do Invisalign…the key question is – what is best for YOU and your smile?
Here’s the short answer: there’s a reason why orthodontists dedicate additional years to the science of fixing smiles.
Let’s consider this a bit further…
Imagine you have always wanted to fix that big bump on your nose. You might think to yourself, “I really don’t like this bump…how can I fix this?”
Would you first consider having your primary care physician fix your nose? Or would you consider fixing your nose at home with some tool, perhaps a hammer?
NO! Of course, you would see a plastic surgeon – a specialist that has repaired or fixed thousands of crooked noses!
Isn’t your smile just as important? You only have one.
In addition to dental school, orthodontists dedicate two to three years (i.e., 21900 hours!) to studying the movement of teeth and being able to diagnose jaw development issues. They are the experts in moving teeth. After all, they do it all day, every day. And wasn’t it Malcolm Gladwell who said that one has to devote 10,000 hours in order to truly master a specialty?
I bet you’re now probably asking this question: isn’t my dentist an expert in all-things teeth related? Yes, your dentist is absolutely an expert in teeth. They worked very hard in their training to understand how to maintain the health of your teeth and gums. Yet, most (not all) have very little to no training in moving teeth to give you a beautiful smile and proper bite.
If you are comfortable with your dentist and you want them to treat you or your child, make sure to ask them a few questions:
- What is your training in moving teeth?
- How many cases have you done?
- Will you fix my bite as well as my smile?
- Should I also get a consultation with an orthodontist?
- Are you taking the proper steps to diagnose my teeth and jaw issues?
A quick word about mail-order orthodontics. Please don’t ever attempt this. We have seen countless disasters come through our office of people who tried to straighten their teeth themselves. Missed diagnoses, messed up bites, painful tooth movements, stripping of the gum tissue, and sadly loss of teeth, have all come from do-it-yourself orthodontics. Please have a professional diagnose and treat you.
So who should be straightening your teeth? An orthodontist of course!