FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DENTIST AND ORTHODONTIST
Dentist and orthodontist are both doctors of teeth and oral care. We all know about dentists
and what they do but are a little confused when we hear the term orthodontist. The confusion
is greater as both a dentist as well as orthodontist address same dental problems (teeth and
overall oral health).
However, both differ in specialization and the care they provide to dental problems.
Dentists are doctors who have completed their med school and have also completed their post
graduate training at a dental college to be eligible to practice as a dentist. These are doctors
that specialize in problems of teeth, gums, tooth decay, repair of damaged tooth and extraction
of tooth etc. They in general help people facing dental problems and also help them in getting
better oral health care.
Orthodontists on the other hand are special dentists who have additionally completed a
residency program (2 years) on orthodontic studies after their post graduation. They help
people having tooth and jaw alignment problems and are specialists in cosmetic surgery
procedures to correct such misalignments. They specialize in diagnosis and treatment of teeth
alignment using the latest technology.
In order to be able to provide corrective treatment methods, orthodontics go intensive study of
teeth movement. Thus the difference between a dentist and orthodontist is very simple.
ARE BRACES A MEDICAL NECESSITY
Most health insurance companies use the criterion of medical necessity to determine whether
or not they will reimburse their customers for a particular procedure.
A similar argument is used in dental insurance. How much of dentistry is medically necessary
and how much is simply to look better? While it is reasonably easy to justify orthodontics
treatment as a necessary procedure, it can also be argued that it is primarily cosmetic in nature.
ORTHODONTIC DISCOUNT AND PAYMENT OPTIONS
So what do you do if you have a large family with crooked teeth? Orthodontic discount
programs may provide the answer. To meet the needs of large (and small) families, orthodontic
discount programs are a way to reduce the cost of orthodontic treatment for a many people.
Please speak to the practice to see what options are available
Considering the cost of braces this can represent a huge savings, especially for families with a
large number of children that need orthodontic treatment.
LAST CENTURY BRACES
If you grew up with braces in the 1950s and 60s or watched a television program from that era,
you know that braces and related headgear were anything but cool. In order to portray a
student as a social outcast, writers or directors would simply put them in a pair of braces.
Orthodontic devices were associated with the unpopular, unattractive, and uncool.
BRACES: OUTCAST OR COOL?
The American Association of Orthodontists reported that eight out of ten mothers of children
with orthodontia claim that braces are cooler today than when they were young. Seven out of
ten mothers say that wearing braces actually makes their children feel cool.
Braces today are cool for a number of reasons. Since braces are more affordable, more kids
have them. Instead of being one of a few students in the minority, most kids expect to have
braces. Thus even the “cool” kids are going to have them at some point. Braces are seen as a
sign of maturity, as in, “I’m old enough to wear braces.” The braces of today are smaller and
less cumbersome. They can also be customized with various colors. This means that braces
today are an accessory rather than a burden.
MODERN DAY BRACE TREATMENT
Because of improvements in the design of braces, the length of treatment is shorter than it
used to be, on average. This means that fewer visits to the orthodontic office are required
along with less adjustment of braces. Because of improvements in fabrication and fewer visits,
braces are more affordable than they once were. Since costs are lower, more people have
access to braces than they previously did. As more people have braces, any stigma associated
with wearing them further diminishes. This is true for braces in children and teens, but is also
happening for adults that wear braces as well.
FOOD RESTRICTIONS WHILE WEARING BRACES
While no one can tell you what to eat or not to eat when you are wearing braces, there are
some foods that can be damaging to your braces. There is a financial cost to repairing damaged
dental braces as well as the sacrifice of time. Not only is there time involved in extra dental
visits, but damaging your braces extends the time that you must wear them for full orthodontic
treatment. In actuality, the food restrictions for braces-wearers are not too extreme; most
people can easily remove these foods from their diet.
Foods to avoid while wearing braces include:
• Hard candy
• Chewing gum
• Uncut apples with skins
• Raw carrots
• Corn on the cob
• Breads with chewy or hard crust
• Crunchy taco shells
It is also best to avoid excessively sugary foods and beverages. These things leave a sticky,
sugary coating on the teeth, which is a feast for bacteria. These bacteria will cause tooth decay
and gum disease. If you must drink sugary beverages, try drinking them through a straw. When
these beverages are consumed through a straw they bypass the teeth (mostly) and are directly
If you have the nervous habit of chewing on hard objects, you will need to get over it before
you are fitted for dental braces. Hard objects that can damage orthodontia include ice cubes,
pens and pencils, fingernails, straws, toothpicks, and any other hard object that you may
absentmindedly put in your mouth. Unfortunately, most people do these things without
thinking about it.
Even after a chronic chewer “kicks the habit,” a particularly stressful event can lead a person
back to thoughtless chewing. This behaviour can damage dental braces and put you back in the
orthodontist office. For the sake of your braces, ask your doctor or dentist about ways to curb
these behaviours before you have orthodontic treatment