WHAT IS A SPECIALIST ORTHODONTIST?
To the untrained eye, Specialist Orthodontists and Dentists can appear very similar. They both have clinics, get you to sit in the dental chair, have lots of shiny instruments and they spend time looking into your mouth. They may even offer Dental and Orthodontic treatments in the same clinic but there is a difference between what a Specialist Orthodontist and a Dentist can do for you. Dentists may choose to offer you a referral to a Specialist Orthodontist when they feel your case is more tricky / difficult to treat:
Services provided by Specialist Orthodontists
A Specialist Orthodontist will normally carry out the following:
Assess your facial harmony in relation to the way your jaws and teeth meet in more detail and will normally have a greater variety of options at their disposal
Address any immediate or long term issues related to the positioning of your teeth or jaws
Help you maintain any improvements to the positioning of your teeth or jaws
Experience and education
Both Orthodontists and Dentists are educated to Degree standards as you would expect. However, to be a Specialist Orthodontist requires a Dentist to undergo a lengthy period of extra study and Professional Posts to increase their Professional experience. The training to become a Specialist Orthodontist includes periods in Hospital under the tutelage of Consultants in the post of Registrar in the Specialty of Orthodontics. Additional periods in the hospital training pathway include periods training in the Specialty of Children's Dentistry and also Oral-Maxillofacial Surgery and submit themselves for "Postgraduate Specialty Examination in Orthodontics" at one or more of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons. A Consultant will generally have spent an additional two year period in training and sat another "exit exam" in order to become a Consultant. The ongoing training that is required of any medical / dental professional is quite stringent as one would expect and and entry is competitive by exam.
If you've ever experienced a severe physical illness or problem then you may have been directed by your GP to a Consultant or Specialist. Its exactly the same with Dentistry. Your Specialist Orthodontist is the equivalent of the Specialist for your face and teeth with regard to Facial aesthetics and harmony and Occlusion (the way your teeth come together).
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