Even if it doesn’t seem to be the case often, dental health is crucial for overall health. Dental health however is not just one particular thing or procedure. When it comes to your teeth (and the surrounding structures) there are many aspects to consider. Concerning dental health, you often get the terms “orthodontics” and “general dentistry.” What is the difference between the two?
Orthodontics is a specialty in dental medicine that involves the alignment of your teeth and jaw. You might think of braces when you think about what an orthodontist does. General Dentistry, in simple terms, concerns everything else about your tooth health. Think about cleanings, pulling teeth, dentures, veneers, whitening, gingivitis, periodontitis, cavities, etc. Are there orthodontists in Greensboro, NC? Are there general dentists in Greensboro, NC? Does any office offer both orthodontics and general dentistry? What are your options?
If you grew up with braces then you probably remember going to one office to have your braces tightened and a different office to have your teeth cleaned. Many practices do not do both. Devaney Dental is special in the fact that they offer both orthodontics and general dentistry services right here in Greensboro, North Carolina: a one-stop tooth shop!
What is the difference between Orthodontists and General Dentists?
In some ways, the question can be settled with a matter of breadth. Orthodontists are generally more specialized – working specifically on concerns with teeth alignment, jaw structure, and bite. This includes cosmetic and functional concerns. When you think of braces, you are thinking of the type of work performed by orthodontists. I mentioned that orthodontists are also concerned about the jaw too which might have you thinking: do braces fix the jaw? Yes, sometimes. Some cases of jaw misalignment are caused in part because of misaligned teeth. So when you manage the alignment of one, you can manage the alignment of another.
General Dentists do pretty much everything else, including emergencies. Dentists are charged with keeping your existing teeth healthy and functional through preventative and restorative measures. Recently, dentists have also started to specialize in many cosmetic treatments to address the aesthetic concerns of their patients.
You can think of orthodontists as dentists with extra training in a particular subfield. Orthodontists go to dental school like all dentists and then do a residency training program in orthodontics to be able to practice within the subfield.
Another difference between dentists and orthodontists is the time patients usually spend with each. Whereas you will usually visit a dentist twice a year for your entire life, many people only encounter an orthodontist during their younger years when they typically get braces. How long will orthodontic treatment last? It depends; however, most treatments are for 1 to 3 years.
When do I see an Orthodontist? When should I go see a Dentist?
This is a great question! As previously stated, an orthodontist is a type of dentist. This may lead you to think that you can go to someone who specializes in orthodontics for a regular check-up or a dental emergency. This is usually not the case.
Orthodontists are almost exclusively working with patients to resolve issues that arise as over teeth alignment, jaw shape, and structure as well as how a person’s bite is set up. Orthodontists are usually the professionals that use tools like braces and retainers. These doctors generally do not handle regular cleanings or emergencies. If the tooth issue has nothing to do with tooth alignment of any kind, you are most likely going to go to a general dentist.
More specifically, orthodontists generally treat:
- Misaligned Jaws
- Teeth when they are spread too far apart
- Crowded teeth (teeth that overlap)
- Overbites and Underbites
- Crooked teeth (generally but also severe cases
If you are looking to have regular cleaning, you are going to go to a general dentist. If you are looking to have cosmetic treatments (like veneers, whitening, etc.), you will need to visit a dentist. You should visit a general dentist if you need crowns, dental implants, wisdom teeth consultations, or gum repair.
There is also the question of a dental emergency. In almost every case, you should contact a general dentist first with what you think is an emergency.
Can I get orthodontics and general dentistry in the same office?
As you can see orthodontics is a specialized type of dentistry that treats issues with tooth and jaw alignment. General dentistry covers almost everything else including regular cleaning.
Usually, orthodontics and general dentistry are performed in separate offices. However, there are options for you to get orthodontic and general dental care in the same office in Greensboro, NC. Devaney Dentistry performs a wide variety of procedures and treatments that cover orthodontic care and general dental care in Greensboro.
At Devaney Dentistry, patients can expect expert care from professionals with extensive education and knowledge of the field. We use the most updated technology to keep our patients as healthy and comfortable as possible.
We encourage you to make an appointment with us today to go over your orthodontic options as well as get you on the schedule for your regular dental cleanings!