We live in a world where people are becoming increasingly more aware of the health benefits and obvious visual benefits of straightening their teeth, there is more of a desire and demand for orthodontics. With this increased demand, recently it has become more and more popular for Primary Care Dentist (PCD) to offer “orthodontic services”.
Some of the questions people are asking are; if I am already seeing a PCD what difference, does it make if my PCD or my orthodontist straightens my teeth? Or what is the difference between a (PCD) and an orthodontist?
In simple terms, the best comparison we can make is for all routine check ups or physicals you would go and see your primary care physician but if you had a more specific concern for example, with you heart, you would chose to see a cardiologist, or, if you had concerns about your skin you would see a dermatologist.
Doctors are always committed to giving the very best care, each category of physician has a very specific skill-set based upon their training and clinical experience therefore when specialty care is required, the patient will usually seek out a specialist in that specific discipline.
In the same comparison as above, you see your PCD for routine cleanings, check ups, restorations (fillings/crowns) as this is their area of expertise, but if you have concerns about teeth alignment and your smile you would go and see an Orthodontist. Orthodontists, such as Dr. Kaplan, have specific certified post-doctorate training to focus ONLY on creating beautiful smiles everyday.
We want to give you a little information to help you make an informed decision and understand WHY it is so important to see an Orthodontist to help create your beautiful smile!
Both PCDs and orthodontists specialists start their career in the same way; they will both attend four years of dental school after completing their undergraduate college degrees. At the completion of dental school, these oral health professionals receive a license to provide exceptional dental care for all of their patients.
The differentiation begins after completing dental school; those wanting to go on to specialize in orthodontics will elect to go back to a Dental Graduate School, to achieve specialization in a specific oral health discipline, like orthodontics.
Dentists, wanting to specialize in orthodontics, must go through a rigorous and competitive selection process in order to be accepted into an American Dental Association (ADA) accredited full-time orthodontic specialty residency program; not a 2-3 year course composed of online discussion and a few weekend meetings. Some orthodontic residency programs have additional coursework where doctors will receive a master’s degree. For your information, Dr. Kaplan wrote his master’s thesis on maxillary and mandibular expansion performed in the mixed dentition (ages 7-10). After completing this residency the student will then received their Orthodontics specialty certification.
Side Note: Only 4% of all dentists are recognized by the ADA as orthodontists!
Now that we have outlined the difference between the training of a PCD and the specialty training of an orthodontist, you have the tools to make an informed decision about where to get your orthodontic work carried out. If you are unsure whether your PCD has the qualifications to perform the orthodontic procedure you are interested in, simply ask them!
Both PCDs and orthodontists are trained to provide patients with exceptional oral health care. However, we must point out that dentistry is no different than any other medical profession. By virtue of both schooling and clinical experience, the dental specialist will generally provide the best and most comprehensive treatment in their chosen specialty, in Dr. Kaplan’s case his specialty is Orthodontics!
Dr. Kaplan always has and will carry on to work closely with our referring PCDs building on existing strong relationships. Throughout his patients’ time in braces Dr Kaplan strongly advises to continue seeing their PCD for check ups and suggests additional cleanings. Additionally, Dr Kaplan will refer patients back to their PCD or other dental specialists when there is additional dental care needed (extractions/fillings/crowns).