Why Choose an Orthodontist?
Although all dentists can legally offer braces to their patients, only 6% of dentists are orthodontists.
So what's the difference?
Orthodontists attend a full-time residency program focusing solely on orthodontics for an additional 2-3 years after dental school. At these programs, the orthodontist in training has the opportunity to treat and analyze hundreds of orthodontic cases under the close supervision of highly skilled and experienced orthodontists. This extensive training prepares the orthodontist to treat all types of cases, from the very simple to the very complex, and perhaps even more importantly, it empowers the orthodontist to know the difference.
How do I know if the dentist I am seeing is an orthodontist?
There are a few good questions you should ALWAYS ask the doctor when considering orthodontic treatment (braces or clear aligners):
- Are you an orthodontist? (The answer here should simply be "yes." Although all dentists can offer braces and clear aligners at their clinics, only an orthodontist has the extensive training to legally say they are an orthodontist. Both Dr. Housley and Dr. Dobson are Board Certified Orthodontists, so you know you will be receiving specialist care from providers with the highest level of training.)
- Where did you do your orthodontic residency, and was it a full-time 2-3 year accredited orthodontic residency program? (The answer here should be "yes." At these programs, the orthodontists in training spend well over 40 hours/week for 2-3 years, after dental school, to gain the appropriate orthodontic knowledge base. This allows your orthodontist to develop a proper plan from the onset of treatment for you and your child. Also, they are trained to put the teeth in a stable final position to reduce the risk of relapse or teeth shifting back to their previous position. This all means that you can rely on shorter treatment time, without sacrificing quality, for results that can last a lifetime.)
- What is your specialist number given by the Oklahoma State Board of Dentistry? (While all dentists and specialists have a "dental license number," only specialist are given a "specialist number" by the state. This certification will often be hanging in the office and is a good way to make sure that you and your child are being seen by a provider with the highest level of training to give you the results you deserve. After all, orthodontic treatment is a significant investment of both time and money that can have a tremendously positive impact on the overall health, appearance, and well being of your smile, so making the right choice for you and your family is important.)
- Do I still need to see my family dentist while in braces? (The answer is "yes." It is extremely important to visit your dentist and hygienist regularly for cleanings and check-ups while in braces. Your orthodontist is specifically trained and equipped to align your teeth and correct your bite, while your family dentist and hygienists are specifically trained and equipped to perform your cleanings and exams. We will provide oral hygiene instructions and special tooth brushes and floss at your appointments so that you can properly clean and care for your braces at home, but visiting your dentist every 3-6 months for proper cleanings and a regular check-up is essential and required to maintain a beautiful and healthy smile.)
So let an orthodontist work with you and your dentist as your braces expert and smile with confidence knowing that you and your child are getting the care that you deserve.