How to Know You’re Getting the Best Quality Orthodontic Treatment
Trusting someone to straighten your teeth is a big deal. Orthodontics involves the use of sophisticated appliances to adjust the alignment of your teeth and jaws – a medical procedure that requires many years of practical training and experience to perform well.
In recent times, there has been an increase in the provision of orthodontic services by under-qualified providers – and even more worryingly, sometimes there is no face-to-face contact with any registered practitioner at all! Unfortunately, it seems that many patients don’t understand who they should be seeing for their orthodontic treatment.
According to consumer research we recently undertook, 84% of parents said they do know the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist. Yet, more than a quarter of these parents still incorrectly believed that dentists are also specialists in straightening teeth and jaw alignment.
So, what’s the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist?
Orthodontists and dentists both help patients improve their oral health, but in different ways. All registered dentists have studied dentistry, which provides general training in the health and management of the teeth, gum, jaw and nerves. However, orthodontics is a recognised specialty of dentistry that focuses on facial growth, correcting bites and straightening teeth.
What you might not know is that all specialist orthodontists began their career as dentists before completing an additional three years of full-time university study in orthodontics, which involves extensive education in the areas of facial growth, biology, tooth movement and applied mechanics. All orthodontists have also completed peer-reviewed scientific research as part of their full-time specialist training at university. These orthodontic research projects continue to increase the knowledge base in molecular and biomaterial science, genetics, engineering and human growth and development. This means that specialist orthodontists are the most qualified practitioners to evaluate new strategies and methods to deliver the best result for your smile.
How do you know if you are seeing a specialist orthodontist?
We understand that it can be difficult to know if you are seeing a dentist or a specialist orthodontist, so we have developed a tool that lists all ASO member orthodontists in Australia. To find out if they are a specialist orthodontists, that is, fully qualified to straighten teeth and align jaws, simply type in the name of the orthodontic practitioner you are considering seeing, Alternatively, you can choose a location, and let the tool suggest specialist orthodontists in that area – for a quick and convenient way to ensure your smile is in good hands.
Am I getting the highest quality treatment?
Even if you are seeing an orthodontist, treatment can be different from practice to practice. Here are some tell-tale signs that you are getting a high-quality experience from your orthodontic provider:
Your orthodontist will discuss all reasonable and relevant orthodontic treatment options for your individual case, along with the expected benefits and costs. In addition, any advantages and/or limitations of each option should be explained well.
Your orthodontist will create a customised treatment plan for you and take you through all the steps required to get the desired outcome, making you feel at ease about the journey ahead.
Your orthodontist will focus on the long-term outcomes for your teeth and talk about how to retain your beautiful smile for years to come.
Your orthodontist will assess your teeth at regular intervals throughout your orthodontic treatment to ensure it stays on track and is completed safely.
Your orthodontist is a true specialist and expert who cares about your oral health and will work with you every step of the way.
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