bakersfield orthodontist Dr. Cardall with patient

Why Choose an Orthodontist (Instead of a Dentist) for Braces or Invisalign

It seems obvious that you should see an optometrist for eye exams, an oncologist for cancer management, and a dermatologist for skin concerns. But many people are confused about whether an orthodontist needs to be consulted for teeth alignment. When should you see an orthodontist instead of your general dentist? And when you can get braces from a dentist and clear aligners in the mail, why see an orthodontist at all?

Dentists and orthodontists both improve the health of the mouth, but in different ways. General dentists treat gingivitis, restore cavities, and make crowns and veneers. Orthodontists correct misalignment of the teeth, improper jaw relations, and malocclusion.

Extra Training to be an Orthodontist

Did you know an orthodontist is a dentist but a dentist is not an orthodontist? Orthodontists have received all the training and skills required to perform dental procedures, just like dentists do, but dentists don’t have the specialized training in teeth movement that orthodontists do. Orthodontists are, by definition, specialists in the alignment of teeth and jaws. Both dentists and orthodontists complete 8 years of college courses to become licensed doctors. However, orthodontists continue their schooling for an additional 2-3 years of specialized residency beyond dental school to focus strictly on how to align teeth and jaws, in addition to creating harmonious smiles and balanced faces. After completing this specialized training, orthodontists limit their practices to orthodontics exclusively, similar to how dermatologists limit their practices to skin conditions.

Most orthodontists go straight from dental school through orthodontic residency, not ever practicing general dentistry–but Dr. Cardall worked for three years as a general dentist before starting his residency. That is kind of rare, but it gave him a slightly different perspective than most orthodontists. He feels he can relate better to the dentists because of it, has a better eye for cosmetic dentistry, and he’s very aware of dental work and cleanings that need to be done prior to and during orthodontic treatment.

Saving With At-Home Ortho Can Cost You More

Although some dentists may take weekend courses to learn about orthodontics and perform basic orthodontics, they don’t have the in-depth experience and precise training of orthodontists. Furthermore, when people get braces or aligners without leaving their house, their treatment clearly isn’t being overseen by an orthodontist, or even a dentist for that matter, and many serious and costly long-term problems can result.

Changing the way your teeth line up and fit together is a serious matter. It not only changes the smile, but it also permanently alters the facial profile and overall look of the face. This is definitely something that should be trusted to the hands of someone with the most knowledge, skill, and experience. For all other dental issues like toothaches and cleanings, your general dentist is the best person for the job!

Bakersfield’s Top Orthodontist

When it’s time to make the decision to choose an orthodontist in Bakersfield, choose the one used most by area dentists. Dr. Cardall was voted “Top Orthodontist” by Bakersfield Dentists, 2018-2019, Bakersfield Life Magazine. Schedule your free exam at our Bakersfield orthodontist office.