Dr Shameela Suliman
Specialist Orthodontist, Windhoek,Namibia
Today I shall discuss a common dilemma patients face when they are offered orthodontic treatment by their family general dentist instead of being referred to a Specialist orthodontist for their poorly aligned teeth
Why choose an Orthodontist?
The average non-specialist dentist simply doesn’t “know what they don’t know” about Orthodontics so they naturally believe that they have the right answers for what appear like “simple” cases when they might be more complex. The outcomes can be disastrous
Before you let any general dentist straighten your teeth, simply ask them: “How many hours of formal training do you have in straightening teeth?” and “How many cases of orthodontics have you performed?” Then, when you go to an orthodontist for a consultation, ask them the same question. Who should treat you will be a no brainer!
Let’s say that your general dentist has spent a day at an orthodontics course (8 hrs), or maybe a weekend course (16 hours) or perhaps they are remarkably well educated for a general dentist and took 3 days a quarter over the course of a year (highly unusual) equaling 90 hours.
Now, compare them to an orthodontist who also graduated dental school but went on for specialty training. The bare minimum specialty program in orthodontics is 40 hrs/week for roughly 48 weeks a year for 4 years. equaling 7,680 hours (not including the book work and after hours lab work they need to do). Remember, that’s the bare minimum for an orthodontist. Most orthodontists have more training than that.
So, let’s re-examine the question. Given the choice between two people who could straighten your teeth, would you rather have the general dentist with, say 16 hours of training who does an orthodontic case every week or two or an orthodontic specialist with over 8000 hours of training in all areas of orthodontics who only does teeth straightening all day long?
Why wouldn’t you go to the Specialist Orthodontist!!!
You or your child deserve to have the straightest teeth you can get and you deserve to have a specialist do it for you. Ultimately, if you want your general dentist to do it for you, that’s OK but let it be your choice after you’ve seen an orthodontist for a consultation.