Even though it may seem like you’re in the dental exam chair a lot while you’re in braces (or clear aligners), seeing the orthodontist is not the same thing as seeing your regular dentist. Keep reading to find out why.
The Difference Between an Orthodontist and a Dentist
Both of these dental professionals play a big part in keeping mouths healthy and improving your oral health but in different ways. A dentist covers a broad range of dental problems, specializing in teeth, gums, nerves, and jaws. A large part of general dentistry is treating or preventing tooth decay. Orthodontists are specialists who focus on correcting the alignment of teeth. This may include correcting bites, occlusion, and/or the straightness of one’s teeth.
Why You Should See Both
While you’re wearing braces, it’s vitally important that you keep up with your regular dental checkups. Even though Dr. Cox went to dental school before diving into his specialty, your orthodontist appointments will not include a regular cleaning or an exam of the overall health of your teeth. Keeping up with your twice-a-year dental checkups while you’re in braces will allow you to have your teeth professionally cleaned as well as check for tooth decay or other dental problems.
Brushing and Flossing with Braces
Braces and other orthodontic treatments play a big part in your overall dental health. But there is one potential drawback if you aren’t careful – brushing and flossing can be a bit more difficult with braces on. It’s a small risk, but one that doesn’t need to be ignored. Brackets and wires can make it hard to get food particles out from in between your teeth. Leaving food or sugar on your teeth for a prolonged time can lead to tooth decay or cavities. Keeping up with your dental appointments is the very best way to make sure that any problems are spotted early. Your general dentist is also able to spot any gum problems that an orthodontist isn’t looking for at your exam.
A Team Effort
Orthodontists and dentists work hand-in-hand to keep your teeth, mouth, and gums healthy. The goal of our entire team – and of good general dentist offices – is to always make sure our patients get a well-rounded approach to oral health!