While dentists and orthodontists both work in the dental field, and both are highly trained professionals, this does not mean that the two are interchangeable. A dentist can be thought of as more of a “jack of all trades,” while an orthodontist is a specialist who has chosen to add additional skills to his or her resume in one particular practice area. These tips can help you determine when you need to a dentist rather than an orthodontist.
Tip 1: When You Have Cosmetic Dentistry Needs
An orthodontist focuses on braces while a dentist can perform whitening, implants, and other cosmetic procedures to enhance your smile. Many dentists, such as prosthodontist Ira J Moin DDS, can also do both. Because of this, unless your need is for braces specifically, there is a good chance your dentist is the professional with the skill set to best assist you.
Tip 2: When You Suspect a Cavity or Gum Issue
A dentist is highly trained in supporting you to achieve and maintain the best oral health. Treating cavities, abscessed teeth, gingivitis, gum disease (periodontal disease), receding gum lines, and other mouth issues are the bailiwick of the dental professional.
Tip 3: When You Feel Dental Pain
If you are feeling unexplained mouth or dental pain, there could be many explanations. But a dentist will be able to talk with you, examine your mouth, perform a cleaning and exam, determine the cause, prescribe a course of treatment, and conduct the follow-up check-ups to be sure your pain is resolving fully. In the rare case you may need a visit to a certain type of dental specialist, a dentist can also open his or her rolodex to give you a trusted referral.
Tip 4: When You Need Family Dental Care
Dentists often treat entire families. If you have kids – especially kids who are visiting a dentist for the first time – taking them to a dentist who will be treating the entire family is a great way to help your kids feel comfortable. They can even come with you to your appointment to see what happens, and then have their appointment after yours – often it is a motivator when Mom or Dad is willing to “put their money where their mouth is” in front of a child.
These four tips can help you determine when a dentist is the right choice for your dental needs.