What exactly does an orthodontist do?

Focused woman in latex gloves and medical mask wearing black uniform holding medical instruments while treating teeth of male client in modern dental room

Have you finally decided to get the smile of your dreams but are confused about whether you should choose a general dentist or an orthodontist for the treatments for the best results? Don’t worry; you are not alone in getting confused with the orthodontist meaning.

Many people in Australia often get confused between a general dentist and an orthodontist. This article will help you understand what orthodontists do and the difference between them and dentists.

What is an Orthodontist?

Orthodontists are specialised dentists, i.e., they take the same education as dentists but study further to specialise in treating dental or teeth misalignments and irregularities.

Most people only recognise orthodontists as dentists who assist with braces, but they can also help you treat painful or misaligned bites, dental movement caused by bad habits, cure some form of sleep apnea, and much more too. Orthodontists can help you get the perfect smile you have always dreamed of.

What is an Orthodontic Treatment?

Orthodontists in Australia offer many different ways of treatment for your oral health, depending on the exact health issues you are facing. However, most orthodontics revolve around restoring the structure and function of both young and adult teeth and jaw. 

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The orthodontics begins with the first stage, where the specialist orthodontist assesses the current position of your teeth and jaw and how they are likely to change over time.

This process is carried out with x-rays, plaster models, and photographs of your teeth. Accordingly, the orthodontist then gives you a treatment plan that best suits your mouth and oral health and oral hygiene.

Metal Braces and Invisalign for Misaligned Teeth

The most common ways of orthodontics available in Australia are braces and Invisalign. Both are used to treat crooked or misaligned adult teeth. These appliances work by placing gentle pressure on your teeth, moving them in proper alignment over time.

Braces are the more traditional approach, but if you want invisible braces that can be removed whenever you want, you can opt for Invisalign.

Sleep Apnea

An orthodontist can also help you treat sleep apnea caused by a physical blockage (collapse of soft tissue) in the back of the throat. Sleep apnea makes it difficult to stay asleep and can affect your day to day life and cause a general lack of focus during the day. 

Misaligned Jaw and Speech Issues

An orthodontist can even help a patient like you treat problems with your jaw, which may cause a bad bite, headache, or speech issues. They do this by realigning the jaws and training your mouth to overcome the jaw irregularities to avoid the symptoms of the problems.

The orthodontists treat these problems with various appliances, like braces, headgear, retainers, etc. When undergoing orthodontics, it is vital to follow your orthodontist’s instructions for the best results.

Woman Wearing Teal Off-shoulder Dress

Can an Orthodontist Remove Teeth?

One of the most common questions we get is that can a specialist orthodontist remove the patients’ teeth. The answer depends on what kind of teeth removal you are talking about. 

A specialist orthodontist doesn’t generally do teeth removals for patients with tooth decay, but sometimes, they may remove a tooth during the orthodontic dentistry treatment to achieve better results.

However, for most patients, the removal of teeth is not required unless the orthodontist deems it absolutely necessary or if you have irreparable tooth decay. 

If you have a tooth that has become loose or damaged due to a cavity, and you want to remove them, you can go to a general family dentist for that procedure. Remember, the orthodontist specialises in fixing the patient’s teeth’s alignment and structure, which a general dentist does not.

Do Orthodontists Fill Cavities?

Another common question we get concerns orthodontists filling patients’ cavities. In most cases, orthodontists don’t usually treat cavities like a dentist would. Regular dentists are the ones you need to approach if you have a cavity issue that you want to get fixed.

However, if you are getting orthodontic treatment and have a cavity, the orthodontist may fill the cavities as part of the treatment. 

What is the Difference Between an Orthodontist and a Dentist?

Orthodontists and dentists are pretty similar, and they both work together to improve your oral health and oral hygeine. However, the kind of dental treatment options an orthodontist would offer is different from that of a dentist. Dentists offer a broad range of dental treatments for everything like a broken tooth, tooth whitening, root canals, extraction, etc.

On the other hand, orthodontists are more specialised than dentists, and they treat dental irregularities, misalignments, or bad bites. This is why dentists are often referred to as dental health experts, while orthodontists are referred to as facial growth and dental development experts.

Concentrated young female doctor with toothbrush and denture sitting on chair in dentist office

There is a difference between an orthodontist and a dentist is also in the kind of education and specialist training they undergo. Orthodontists and dentists have a lot of the same education and university training for a general dental degree.

However, orthodontists, after getting a general dental degree, have to receive additional education for a specialist orthodontic degree. Orthodontists are already registered dentists who undergo additional three years of specialist orthodontic training to learn things about facial growth, development, biology, and biomechanics.

An interesting fact that perfectly highlights the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist is that each year, only three to four orthodontists are trained at the five accredited Australian universities, and only the best dentists get selected into the orthodontist programs., who then graduate as Australian Society of Orthodontists registered specialists.

So, to sum up, the difference between the two is that an orthodontist is a more specialised dental expert when compared to a dentist.

How Much Does an Orthodontist Dentistry Treatment Cost?

Orthodontists, like dentists, may seem expensive, but the treatments they offer are worth it. Orthodontists can help you achieve the smile of your dreams with the treatment options and cure various problems like misaligned teeth, sleep apnea, or a bad bite.

However, the exact costs depend on the condition of your teeth and their unique requirements, just like dentists. There are a number of factors that affect how much you pay for orthodontics. You will only know the exact costs when you go for check-ups.

When you go for your orthodontics check-up, you can ask the orthodontist if your quote includes the following things to ensure you are getting the best price in town:

  • Pre-treatment assessment
  • X-rays of the patient’s mouth
  • Custom patient mould of your teeth and bite
  • Orthodontic appliances for tooth repair
  • Care items for overall oral health
  • Regular consultations
  • Emergency appointments
  • Post-treatment retainers
  • Tooth Extraction
  • Follow-up treatment reviews for the patients

You should also check if there are payment plans available if your insurance covers the treatment, and that the orthodontist is registered with the Australian Society of Orthodontics.

To get the best orthodontic dentistry in the city, get in touch with us. We offer the best orthodontic treatment at the best prices that can help you restore your smile and get perfect teeth in no time. Give us a call now.