You may have seen this on several dental ads – dental or orthodontic problems, dental needs, orthodontic needs, dental treatment and procedures, or orthodontic treatments and procedures. What is the difference between dental and orthodontic issues and processes? If I have a dental problem, who should I turn to?
Dental or orthodontic problems: The difference
What really is the difference between dental, orthodontic, periodontic, and all other fields of dental medicine is the focus and or the issue. With that said, dental issues are the most general problems and conditions that we see in our dental cavity. Plaque, dental caries, tooth decay, chipped or fractured teeth, all these are dental issues. Dentists trained and spent years studying and gaining experience in performing procedures and treatments that would solve these issues.
Orthodontics, on the other hand, is a specialized field of dentistry that focuses on the alignment of the teeth and jaws. Any problem concerning teeth misalignment, like malocclusion, is covered and dealt with by orthodontists. These professionals are dentists who spent at least three more years specializing in orthodontic procedures and innovations to help people straighten their teeth.
Dental or orthodontic procedures
Ways to correct teeth alignment can be in the form of orthodontic braces, aligners, expanders, and retainers. Let us discover the different dental or orthodontic procedures that are available now for you to consider.
This orthodontic appliance may be the most popular teeth-straightening procedure there is. A procedure that uses wires, brackets, and elastic bands, your teeth will be basically pulled gradually to straighten them and position them correctly to your jaws. Because the traditional braces are all made with metal parts and are considered bulky and uncomfortable to wear, innovation on its look and materials brought about ceramic or clear braces, as well as lingual braces. These upgrades are made specifically improving the procedure’s physical issues, but the method of correcting your teeth alignment remains the same.
You may have heard of Invisalign, Clear Correct, WonderSmile, and Inman Aligners. All these brands are orthodontic aligners that are used to straighten your teeth without the known complaints from dental braces. They are removable dental tray-like appliances that are made with thermoplastic material, making them more comfortable to wear and invisible. So teens and adults who are self-conscious about how they look while undergoing an orthodontic procedure need not fear if they are using these aligners. The processes may change and are different per brand, but the essence of the treatment is still the same – to help adjust the position of the teeth to make them straight.
Jaw and palatal expanders
These appliances are recommended to be used in preparation for an orthodontic procedure, especially if the jaw formation is the main reason for the misalignment. These appliances expand the arch of the jaw to accommodate and give sufficient space for the teeth to move. They are a little bit uncomfortable to wear, but using them will correct not only your crooked teeth but your bite and breathing as well.
These are necessary post-orthodontic appliances used to maintain the correct positioning of the teeth. Skipping this procedure after using braces or dental aligners may defeat the purpose of your orthodontic procedure because your pearly whites may have the tendency to go back to their positions pre-braces.
Though these appliances may be referred to as dental, orthodontic appliances are what they should be called. The reason underlying this confusion may be because general dentists who own dental clinics and offices would also offer orthodontic procedures and mention that they are also capable of performing them due to their years of experience in the dental field. However, if accuracy and safety are your priority, we would recommend getting the services of orthodontists who are the experts on these procedures. We are not saying the dentists can’t do it, it is just that orthodontists studied, trained, gained experience, and focused on these procedures longer than dentists did, making them more reliable compared to general dentists.