Dentists play an essential role in our oral health but it's important to know the difference between orthodontists and dentists when making decisions about who to see for orthodontic treatment.
Anyone who wants to work in the dental industry, as either a dentist or an orthodontist, must attain a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS). This is a five-year undergraduate degree which lays the foundations for practicing as a dentist. Those who want to specialise as an orthodontist - someone who is specifically focussed on the growth and development of the jaws, as well as how to produce ideal alignment of the teeth - must complete at least five years of postgraduate study to achieve the Master of Orthodontics (MOrth) qualification.
As a patient, ensure both your dentist and your orthodontist have the appropriate qualifications. An orthodontist is also required to be registered as a specialist in orthodontics with the General Dental Council (GDC). Those committed to their profession will most likely be a member of professional orthodontic bodies, such as the British Orthodontic Society (BOS).
One of the most common questions we get asked here at Queensway Orthodontics is, when should a patient see an orthodontist, as opposed to their dentist? We encourage all our patients to have a family dentist who they see regularly. This is because everyone needs regular checkups with a dentist to maintain the overall health of your teeth.
Your family dentist should be there if you need fillings or extractions, cleaning or polishing, or other cosmetic dental work, such as veneers or composite bonding.
If you need orthodontic appliances, such as braces or Invisalign, to fix crooked teeth, correct misaligned jaws, or close big gaps between your teeth, you may well need to see an orthodontist.Some dentists have been trained to carry out limited orthodontic treatments– though these treatments tend to be limited in objective. The best advice is to read the British Orthodontic Society guide to Adult Orthodontics (and watch the accompanying video) to help you decide who is best placed to look after you and meet or exceed your expectations. You can find the guide at:
When you are ready to be seen by an orthodontist your dentist may refer you to one, otherwise you can book an appointment directly yourself.
Here at Queensway Orthodontics, all of our staff are committed to giving our patients the best care possible. We achieve this by participating in regular professional training and keeping up to date in the latest orthodontic technology that could benefit our patients.
We are also a member of The Invisible Orthodontist (TIO), a network of specialist orthodontists throughout the UK who are dedicated to treating patients using invisible techniques,such as Invisalign.