Did you know that during orthodontic treatment, it is very important to see a general dentist or pediatric dentist on a regular schedule? We know it may seem like you are in an exam chair more than normal while you are wearing braces or Invisalign®. But don’t forget that an orthodontist and a dentist are two different kinds of dental providers.
The Difference in an Orthodontist and Dentist
Orthodontists and dentists are both important people that make sure your mouth stays healthy and who improve your overall oral health. But they do it in different ways. Dentists cover a wide range of dental concerns. They specialize in teeth, gums, nerves, and jaws. Perhaps the most important role of a general or pediatric dentist is to treat or help prevent tooth decay. Orthodontists focus on correcting the alignment of your teeth. This could mean addressing bite concerns, occlusions, and/or the straightness and overall appearance of your teeth.
Why See Both?
Even though Dr. Durham went to dental school before orthodontic school, his focus during your appointment is not the same as a general dentist will be. Orthodontic appointments do not include a cleaning or an exam of the overall health of your teeth. Your dental appointments will make sure that you regularly have your teeth professionally cleaned and checked for signs of tooth decay or other dental problems. Your orthodontic appointments will make sure that your teeth are moving into their ideal placement.
Cavities Risk for During Braces
Wearing braces makes it easy for food to get trapped in between teeth or behind wires or brackets. Prolonged exposure to food or sugar causes bacteria to form that breaks down the surface of teeth and causes cavities. It is important to brush or rinse your mouth after eating, brush and floss regularly, and keep your teeth as clean as possible when you’re wearing braces.
If you get a cavity while wearing braces, it most likely won’t affect your orthodontic treatment. However, there are cases where brackets may need to be temporarily removed if your dentist can’t properly reach the cavity. Decayed or unexpected missing teeth can also alter treatment times and the outcome of your orthodontic treatment. That is why it is so important to keep your teeth healthy especially during orthodontic treatment.
A Team Effort
When it comes to dental health, orthodontists and dentists are on the same team – they just play different positions. Our goal, and your dentist’s goal, is to make sure your teeth, mouth, and gums stay healthy. With a well-rounded approach to your dental and orthodontic needs, you will have a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime.