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Orthodontist Or a Dentist – Know the Difference

Written by Dr. Chaw Su Kyi on July 2, 2015

A specialist orthodontist is a qualified dentist who has carried out a further 3 years postgraduate specialist training after completing their 5-year dental degree. During their postgraduate training, they have to successfully pass the Membership examination with the Royal College of Surgeons along with a postgraduate Masters degree.

By learning and understanding about tooth movement (orthodontics) and guidance of facial development (dentofacial orthopaedics), specialist orthodontists are the uniquely trained experts within dentistry to straighten teeth and align jaws. Orthodontists diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities. Specialist orthodontists treat a wide variety of malocclusions (improperly aligned teeth and/or jaws) and regularly treat young children, teenagers and adults.

The majority of orthodontists limit their practices to orthodontics and dentofacial orthopaedics. Dr Kyi only carries out orthodontic treatment. On a daily basis, Dr Kyi sees a large number of patients for brace treatment only and she is highly specialized in braces, having treated over a thousand patients.

Why is it important to have your orthodontic treatment with a specialist orthodontist? Surely it’s just straightening teeth?

Well it is more than just straight teeth. The teeth are involved with supporting the associated facial structures which include lip position, jaw position and profile. Moving the teeth or straightening the teeth can affect all these facial structures. Your ‘bite’ must be left in a stable position at the end of treatment to reduce the risk of future problems.

It is important that the orthodontic treatment is planned and properly completed to achieve successful treatment with long-term stability.

Orthodontic treatment starts with the end goal in mind – one has to plan the desired result which has to be stable and ensuring the patients’ profile is kept in balance and harmony. To ensure the correct tooth movements occur, this has to be perfectly planned. Being able to plan takes training and experience.

In the UK, there are no restrictions for a dentist to offer orthodontic treatment as long as they (the dentist) feel they are competent to carry out treatment. There are a number of brace systems marketed specifically at dentists which may be offered at a lower financial cost to the patient.

Orthodontic treatment often takes over 12 months, the average being 18 months. You can only gain experience and understand the case by working through to the completion of each case.

Contact our office today at 020 8222 8760 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kyi.

To fully understand the complexities of treatment, this cannot be achieved in a one-week course which may be taken by a general dentist who is able to offer lower-priced treatments.

To carry out orthodontic training and become a specialist orthodontist takes a further three years after completing the five-year dental degree. In the same respect, it would be unlikely you would choose to see an orthodontist to have a filling or a crown as the orthodontist may not have carried out this procedure for many years.

It is very important that you maintain your regular check-ups with your dentist and hygienist appointments all throughout your orthodontic treatment. Healthy teeth will last you a lifetime. All the fields dentistry are involved and work together to maintain this goal of life-long healthy teeth.

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