Most Common Misconceptions About Orthodontics

Many people know what dentists do, but things are a little unclear regarding orthodontists. This confusion leads to common misconceptions about what an orthodontist is and how they correct smiles. At Cowan & Whitaker Orthodontics, our team is proud to offer cutting-edge care to families in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. However, what exactly does this cutting-edge care entail? Let’s clear up some myths about orthodontists and explain how Dr. Cowan and Dr. Whitaker can improve your oral health! 

Dentists and orthodontists are interchangeable

The most common myth about orthodontists is that they’re essentially the same as general dentists. There are reasons why this misconception exists. Both professions start with dental school and want to help patients maintain strong oral health. However, there are quite a few differences between the two. If you’re concerned about tooth pain or suspect a cavity, a dentist should be your first stop! These dental health professionals can treat aching teeth, decay, cavities, gum disease, and other common health problems. They also offer checkups and professional cleaning services to keep your mouth in tip-top shape. 

Orthodontists, on the other hand, have a more specialized focus. Most of the patients we see have been referred by dentists or are experiencing orthodontic issues like a misaligned bite or crooked teeth. These problems go beyond the cosmetic appearance of a patient’s smile. If left untreated, they can lead to symptoms that may affect everyday tasks such as eating, speaking, and even digesting food properly. An orthodontist like Dr. Cowan or Dr. Whitaker has been trained to identify and correct bad bites and other misalignments using braces, clear aligners, or other appliances.

Dentists and orthodontists receive the same education and training 

As we’ve mentioned above, both dentists and orthodontists start their careers in dental school. However, post-graduation, orthodontists take a different path by embarking on several extra years of specialized training and education. These programs are highly competitive, and only the top students in any dental school’s graduating class are accepted. They typically last about 2-3 years, with a full-time focus on identifying and correcting orthodontic issues to create a healthier, more balanced smile. Once this residency program has been completed, a dentist will become an orthodontist.

Most Common Misconceptions About Orthodontics

The specialized treatment dentists and orthodontics provide are the same

Dentists and orthodontists both have a solid foundational education, with plenty of training and experience when it comes to caring for smiles. However, an orthodontist like Dr. Cowan and Dr. Whitaker will have more years of specialized education. While some dentists provide basic orthodontic care, like clear aligners or braces for minor misalignments, orthodontists specialize in identifying and correcting specific issues. 

Orthodontists are also the best choice for helping patients avoid any unnecessary complications. They’re more likely to notice the small things that a general dentist may overlook and will only recommend the appropriate treatment plan for you. This means treatment times are reduced, there’s less chance of complications developing, and the treatment plan itself will be time and cost-effective.

If your family dentist offers orthodontic care, you may consider them as an option. This is understandable, as most of us prefer people we’re familiar with over someone new. However, before you move forward with orthodontic treatment by your dentist, consider what an experienced orthodontist will be able to provide you. This includes: 

  • Traditional metal and clear ceramic braces
  • A customized treatment plan created just for you based on your unique smile, specific needs, and desired results
  • The best possible outcome for your smile, particularly if your case is complex or severe
  • More efficient treatments and visits, since orthodontics is the main focus

At Cowan & Whitaker Orthodontics, our main focus is orthodontic care and treatment. That’s why we put so much time and work into perfecting what we do! Dr. Cowan and Dr. Whitaker perform teeth straightening procedures daily most weeks, and our team keeps up to date on the latest in industry practice. Our office is equipped with the most current technology, allowing us to provide every patient with only the best in customized orthodontic care.

Orthodontists only treat teens

If you imagine a teen in braces whenever you hear the term “orthodontics,” you’re not the only one. While it’s true that teens make up most orthodontic patients, treatment can be beneficial to patients of all ages. In addition to teens, we work with young children and adults in our Tuscaloosa office. We’ve seen firsthand that there’s no age limit for achieving a straighter smile and better oral health!  

Most Common Misconceptions About Orthodontics

Get the best at Cowan & Whitaker Orthodontics

At Cowan & Whitaker Orthodontics, we believe that personalized care makes all the difference. Dr. Cowan and Dr. Whitaker customize each orthodontic treatment plan so that it works for your unique smile. Our patients in Tuscaloosa know us as the Alabama orthodontic experts, and we can’t wait to make you smile, too! Schedule your free consultation today to get started!