There are around 10,000 orthodontists practicing in the United States as well as 200,000 dentists. This may seem confusing to some people who have been led to believe that dentists and orthodontists largely do the same job!
The truth is that orthodontists and dentists, even though they both work with teeth, are very different.
If you’ve been wondering whether you need an orthodontist vs. dentist and what exactly each one does, read on to find out the differences.
Most of us are familiar with the dentist. They’re professionals of oral health and their job is to make sure we’re taking care of our teeth and help us achieve that goal.
They deal with a broad range of oral health topics, from teeth cleaning to gum health. They can also help with some cosmetic procedures, and some dentists don’t work as general dentists but have specialties. For example, they might specialize in pediatric care.
While dental hygienists are usually the ones who take care of routine cleanings, a dentist is there to oversee this for patients and to fix anything that’s gone wrong. They fill cavities, do root canals, and may deal with extractions too.
There’s a very broad range of things a dentist can help with, and patients are usually recommended to see one every six months so that they can deliver care before anything goes too wrong with the teeth.
Orthodontists are, in a way, dental specialists. For the most part, their job is to deal with alignments issues in the teeth and jaw.
Most people will first see an orthodontist when they’re a young child to make sure their mouth is developing in a way that will leave them with straight teeth and a good bite as an adult. Often at this age, the orthodontist will decide that braces are the best course of action to keep the mouth aligned.
That doesn’t mean they only deal with dental procedures in children that involve alignment. Many adults will see an orthodontist, and it usually requires a referral from a dentist.
If you’d like straighter teeth or a better alignment, you can ask your dentist about this and hopefully get a referral. If your alignment is off in a way that’s very obvious or could cause health issues, your dentist will likely give you this referral on their own.
Orthodontist vs. Dentist: Cost
Choosing a dentist and orthodontist, for many people, depends on the cost and whether they’re in-network with the patient’s insurance company. Dental insurance is relatively picky about who you visit, and the costs can get very high!
Often, insurance becomes a lot trickier when you visit an orthodontist. They’re technically a specialist, so insurance might not cover all of the cost and depending on the procedure, they may not cover any at all — even if you have specific dental insurance.
This is because some orthodontist treatments aren’t medically necessary.
Some insurance will pay for orthodontist costs but require a referral from a dentist to ensure the trip was necessary.
If you’ve decided you need to see an orthodontist, make sure you cover what’s needed with your insurance or that you can afford to pay out of pocket for the services.
Orthodontist vs. Dentist: Qualifications
The processes to become a dentist and an orthodontist are largely similar. Both have to pursue an undergraduate degree before entering dentistry school and take the National Dentistry Exam at the end.
The national average score is 87%, showing that most people who get to this stage do pretty well.
Those who want to become an orthodontist must go on to do a residency for two to three years, so becoming an orthodontist definitely takes more time. They also must pass additional tests at the end of this, so a lot more studying is required to become an orthodontist!
Oddly enough though, orthodontists often make less money than dentists after doing this at an average of $145,000 per year in the United States.
Which Should I See?
Surprisingly, despite the training that orthodontists undergo, some states permit dentists to carry out the same procedures. If you have a dentist you trust and need braces or other alignment help, they may be able to do this for you and that’s wonderful if you have a good relationship with your dentist.
If you’re in a state that doesn’t allow this or are looking for the best expertise, it’s a good idea to ask for an orthodontist referral. Your dentist may be the best at regular dental procedures but orthodontists have undergone additional training and spend their whole day specifically focusing on this one issue.
That means they’re generally the best at it!
However, if it’s not alignment issues you’re worried about, then don’t concern yourself with the thought of an orthodontist. They do one thing and one thing only and for everything else, it’s your dentist you want — or a different specialist they may refer you to.
Dentists and Orthodontists Are Both Valuable!
Remember, when it comes to whether you want an orthodontist vs. dentist, they’re both very valuable. An orthodontist has a lot of expertise in one particular area you may need help with, and your dentist can provide lifelong help with oral health and anything that may go wrong in your mouth.
Listen to your dentist’s advice about what you need and see an orthodontist if necessary.
If you’re looking for a great dentist in Indianapolis, contact us today, and let’s see how we can help!
Dr. Holly Austgen, DDS of Southeast Family Dental in Indianapolis, Indiana reveals what that weird blue light is that your dentist uses, how it works and if there are any risks to your teeth and gums when using it. https://youtu.be/gddhQso_frs [https://youtu.be/gddhQso_frs] If you can not see the embedded video above please use the following link: What is that weird blue light my dentist uses? [https://youtu.be/gddhQso_frs] Transcript Hi everyone. My name is Dr. Austgen from Southeast Family Dental and today I’m going to talk to you about a question we often get here at the office, and that is, what is the blue light that we use and is it dangerous? So what is it? That blue light is a dental curing light. It’s basically a piece of dental equipment that we use to harden or cure our resin or basically, tooth-colored filling materials, as well as some other materials that we use such as cements and bonding agents that we use to restore your teeth back to health. So how does this light work? When fillings are placed in the teeth, they are very soft so that they can be molded to the correct shape and anatomy. When the dentist or the assistant who is placing the filling is happy with the shape and the contour, they will then set the material to make it hard. That’s where the blue light comes in. We press the light, the blue light shines on it, and it will make the material hard as rock, strong enough for you to be able to chew on as soon as you leave. Okay, so here’s the big question. What about the blue light? Everyone wants to know what it is. So I’ll tell you what it’s not. It is not a UV light and it is not a laser. What it is, is a very strong blue light and it’s blue because it falls into the range of the wavelengths under the blue light spectrum. So like I said, it’s not a laser and it’s not a UV light. So it’s not going to cause any damage to your teeth or your gums. The only danger is if you look at the light for too long. It’s kind of similar to looking at the sun for too long. Dentists and assistants who place fillings are the most at risk. That’s why there is an orange filter on the light to protect our eyes. So no need to be concerned about the blue light or the curing light. It’s been a significant advancement in dentistry for us and allows us to place fillings that are hard, exactly the way we want them to be so you’re ready to use your tooth just like you wanted when you leave. Thanks for listening and remember, at Southeast Family Dental, we love to make you smile.
Do you suffer from fears and anxiety when going to the dentist? Or, maybe a trip to the dentist is a scary event for your child, which also stresses you out? Dental fears, anxiety and phobia are extremely common. It’s estimated that between 5% and 8% of Americans avoid going to the dentist due to fears. Some people (perhaps up to 20%) experience so much anxiety that they’ll only go to the dentist when it’s absolutely necessary. People experience dental anxiety and fears for various reasons, including: * Previous bad experiences at the dentist’s office. * Fear of pain. * Feeling helpless or not in control of the situation. * Embarrassment about the state of their teeth and gums. Being unfamiliar with the instruments, noises and smells in the dental office. This is especially true for young children. At Southeast Family Dental, we understand how the dentist’s office can cause anxiety and fears. But calming fears isn’t just for kids, some adults need help calming their anxiety at the dentist, too. So a dentist located in Northbrook, IL, has found an ingenious way to do just that. He brings a trained comfort dog into his office. The golden retriever soothes nervous kids and adults alike by comforting them during dental exams. In fact, the golden retriever has a sixth sense when it comes to figuring out exactly who needs him the most. A comfort dog really is an excellent idea to calm dental fears, because animals tend to have a soothing effect on people. Other ideas that dentists may use to calm your fears, include: * Providing you with an iPad and headphones, so you can listen to relaxing music or watch a TV program to distract you. * Offering you a blanket for warmth, comfort and the feeling of security. * Giving you nitrous oxide or other sedatives to help you feel relaxed during dental exams or procedures. If you suffer from dental anxiety and fears, talk to our team at Southeast Family Dental. We can talk to you about what to expect during your appointment and help you find ways to ease your fears. We want to make sure your dental experience is as calm, comfortable and stress-free as possible for you.
Stress is a normal part of life. Everyone experiences it at some point. It can cause you to feel anxious, sad, or stressed about a situation. While the occasional feeling of stress is normal, having feelings of stress all the time can take a toll on your health. IMPACT OF STRESS ON ORAL HEALTH Stress can have a major impact on your health, and it can have a similarly major impact on your oral health. Most people have probably experienced an ulcer at some point in their life, and an ulcer is just one example of the way chronic stress can negatively impact your oral and overall health. * When your body is stressed, it releases cortisol, which is a hormone that increases your blood glucose levels. This increase in blood sugar can lead to inflammation, which can trigger the body's immune response to fight off infection or injury. However, when the immune system is overstimulated, it can lead to an increase in gum disease. * Not only can stress increase the chances of developing gum disease, but it can also increase your risk for more serious diseases, such as cancer. This is because your immune system becomes weakened by stress, and compromised health can make it harder for your immune system to fight disease effectively. * Additionally, stress can cause bruxism – an abnormal clenching of the jaw and grinding of teeth while sleeping. This can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). TMD causes pain in your jaw that can be chronic. And, since it does affect your smile, it's considered part of your oral health. If you are suffering from this, we may be able to help by finding a custom oral appliance you can wear at night to protect your teeth from damage. We can also recommend other ways to cope with stress and advise you on steps you can take to improve your oral health. WAYS TO MINIMIZE STRESS Fortunately, there are things you can do to minimize the effects of stress on your body. Regular exercise is one of the best options, as it can help keep your body healthy, strong, and balanced. You should also try to stick to a healthy diet, limit alcohol consumption, drink plenty of water during the day, and try to get enough sleep each night. When you're under a lot of stress, you should make sure to keep up with your regular checkup and cleaning appointments. We can work with you to identify problem areas in your smile and take steps to help you prevent symptoms from getting worse over time. If you're overdue for your annual exam and cleaning, then it's time to give us a call to schedule your next appointment. We can be reached at (317) 359-8000. Our dentist's office is located in Indianapolis, IN, and we look forward to helping you keep your smile healthy for many years to come!
Southeast Family Dental is pleased to announce that Dr. Mark Bohnert and Dr. Laura Geiger have been selected by a vote of their peers to be Top Dentists, www.usatopdentists.com. and featured in the “Best of Indy” December issue of of Indianapolis Monthly. Indianapolis Monthly December 2018Dr. Bohnert is a 10-year winner and Dr. Geiger is a 3-year winner of the Top Dentist award. This honor is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey in which dentists and specialists throughout Indiana cast votes on the abilities of other dentists and specialists. Inclusion in Top Dentists is considered a singular honor. Dr. Laura Geiger responded to the announcement. “We are thrilled to have been voted Top Dentists. This honor shows us that we are meeting our mission to change the way you feel about going to the dentist, while giving you more reasons to smile.”
Drinking water is essential to your health. Water helps to transport nutrients in your body, regulates your body temperature, lubricates your joints, helps build muscle, digests food and improves your skin complexion. And, yes, water really is healthy for your teeth, especially if it’s fluoridated. Some reasons why water is beneficial to your teeth include: * Tap water may contain fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that naturally occurs in almost all water supplies. Also fluoride can be added to a town’s water supply. Fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay. According to the American Dental Association, it has been shown to reduce the rate of cavities by as much as 60%. However, it’s important to note that not all bottled waters contain fluoride. * Water naturally rinses your teeth and keep them clean. When you drink water, especially after eating, it helps wash away food particles and acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth. Therefore, if you can’t brush your teeth while you’re out, drink a glass of water and swish the water around in your mouth to help clean your teeth until you can get home and brush. * Drinking water helps to decrease the pH level in your mouth. The neutral pH level in your mouth is 7.0. When you eat or drink acidic foods and beverages, the pH level can drop below 5.0. Too much acid can cause bad bacteria to grow, leading to tooth decay, which occurs when the pH level in your mouth is 5.5 or lower. But drinking water can help neutralize the effects of acid in your mouth. * Water helps alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth. When your salivary glands don’t make enough saliva in your mouth, dry mouth can occur. You need an adequate supply of saliva to neutralize the acids produced by bacteria and to wash away food particles. Otherwise, a mouth that’s too dry can increase your risk of developing tooth decay. Drink water as part of your daily dental health routine As you see, drinking water really is healthy for your teeth. So make drinking water a regular part of your daily dental health routine, in addition to brushing and flossing. But be careful of some seltzer waters. Some are advertised as water, but contain additional sweeteners that make them just as harmful as soda. Also, they are more acidic than flat water so should be limited due to their ability to erode teeth. Also, remember to schedule your biannual dental checkups with Southeast Family Dental by calling us at (317) 359-8000.