What Does an Orthodontist Do?
An orthodontist does a number of things in relation to properly aligning their patients’ teeth. When they see a patient for the first time, they examine the patient’s teeth, jaw, and facial structure to determine what type of orthodontic treatment the patient will need. They can use several diagnostic tools including x-rays, tooth impressions, and photographs to analyze the position and alignment of both the teeth and jaw.
After assessing the orthodontic issues, the orthodontist then develops a customized treatment plan that is tailored to the patient’s specific needs. This plan will take into account factors such as the patient’s age, the severity of the misalignment, their goals, and their oral health.
To straighten teeth and move them into the desired position, an orthodontist will typically use braces or Invisalign. Braces are metal brackets that are bonded to each tooth and then a metal wire is attached to the brackets and used to gently apply pressure to the teeth and move them into the desired position. Invisalign is a newer option that is far less visible than traditional braces and can easily be removed to eat. They are clear, plastic aligners that precisely fit over the patient’s teeth and are 3D printed after a 3D image of the patient’s teeth is captured. A computer program 3D prints a series of these aligners that apply pressure on specific parts of the teeth and slowly move them into the desired position over time. Each aligner is only worn for a short period of time before being replaced with the next aligner which continues applying pressure to specific areas after the teeth have finished adjusting to the previous aligner.
What is the Difference Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist?
Generally speaking, the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist is that a dentist has more of a general focus and fixes a variety of dental problems whereas an orthodontist is a specialist who primarily focuses on straightening, rotating, and slowly moving teeth. Because an orthodontist is a specialist with more education and experience in straightening teeth, many dentists choose to refer patients to an orthodontist for braces or Invisalign rather than doing it themselves.
How Much Does an Orthodontist Cost?
In regard to how much an orthodontist costs, the price they charge for orthodontic work will vary depending on a number of factors. These can include the complexity of the situation, the type of treatment chosen (standard braces or Invisalign), the orthodontist’s experience, and even the geographic area the orthodontist is located in. Put into dollars, orthodontists can cost between $3,000 and $10,000. However, if you look around, you may find that it’s possible to get some clear retainers that are similar to Invisalign for less than $2,000, but these won’t work for all situations. For very complicated orthodontic situations, it’s also possible that someone could end up paying more than $10,000 for braces or another type of orthodontic treatment. Like with any big purchase, it is wise to shop around and get at least 3 quotes before making a decision. You should also consider the experience of the orthodontist and their track record. Look at any reviews you can find online may also help to inform your decision.