What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dentist that specializes in the growth of jaws, alignment of teeth, development of healthy functional bites, and creation of beautiful smiles. Typically an orthodontist completes a full-mouth exam and takes x-rays, pictures, and impressions to thoroughly evaluate each person and develop individualized treatment options. The goal of orthodontics is to leave you with a healthy, beautiful smile.

How is an orthodontist different than a dentist?

An orthodontist is a specialized dentist that completed 2-3 years of specialized training in addition to getting their dental degree. A dentist can treat patients with braces and Invisalign® along with their other treatments such as fillings, root canals, crowns, implants, and dentures. Orthodontists, as specialists, only do orthodontic treatments like braces and Invisalign®. 

How is an orthodontist different than at-home aligners or do-it-yourself treatments?

At home treatment options sound appealing since they often only require taking a few selfies and sending in your own impressions and they claim that you can get your teeth straightened in months - no appointments and no doctor visits. However, there are many things you need to consider before pursuing direct-to-consumer treatments. These at-home treatments lack in-person supervision or in-person periodic evaluations by an orthodontist. In-person supervision can be important as orthodontic treatment is a professional service and involves more than just straightening teeth. It involves maintaining healthy teeth, healthy gums, and developing a good functional bite. A lack of in-person supervision can cause several issues in those areas. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends asking these questions in the link below when researching direct-to-consumer treatment. https://www.aaoinfo.org/_/online-orthodontic-companies/