Did you know that over 40% of adults have experienced tooth pain in the last year alone?
While some tooth pain goes away on its own, persistent pain requires the help of a professional. But how do you know whether you should seek out orthopedic vs orthodontist care?
Keep reading to learn the difference between these two fields of dentistry.
What Is an Orthodontist?
If you’ve had braces, you’ve probably worked with an orthodontist before. An orthodontist is a dental professional who holds a DDS or other dental license. These health professionals work almost exclusively with the alignment of individual teeth.
Orthodontists do much more than braces treatment, though. They also provide various treatments for malocclusions, or misalignment of the teeth.
They also use other tools, like spacers, expanders, pendulums, and others. They might even remove teeth if they’re getting in the way of the alignment of the other teeth in your mouth.
Most people think of orthodontics as a purely aesthetic field. However, major health problems can occur if your teeth are improperly aligned. Professionals like those at Queens Medical Center provide both aesthetic and health-related care.
Crooked and misaligned teeth can create small pockets and hard-to-reach places in your mouth. If you can’t reach them to brush and floss regularly, bacteria will build up in those spots, causing gum disease. These bacteria build-ups can also cause halitosis.
You might also have trouble chewing food properly, leading to malnutrition over time. Even if none of these other issues occur, when teeth that are misaligned come into contact with each other, they cause more wear and tear and potential damage to each other than teeth that are properly aligned.
What Is Orthopedic?
While orthodontists focus specifically on teeth, orthopedists focus on facial muscle and skeletal structure as a whole. These professionals have to have a medical degree, and they are licensed to perform many different kinds of treatments, including surgeries.
You might go see an orthopedist for a variety of reasons, such as after an injury or trauma. They can also help if you have a disorder or medical condition that is causing unwanted symptoms or pain related to your musculoskeletal system.
Orthopedic treatments include things like bone fusion and soft tissue repair. You can also go to an orthopedic surgeon for bone setting, bone cutting and removal, and joint replacement.
Which to Choose
Whether you need to see an orthopedist or an orthodontist depends on the symptoms that you’re experiencing and the problem you’re looking to solve. A comprehensive care team might even include one of each professional.
For problems with specific teeth and their alignment, go see an orthodontist. If you’re more concerned with jaw alignment or other major skeletal or muscle issues, consult with an orthopedist.
If you’re still unsure of who to see, check out your local dental office’s website or give them a call. They’ll provide you with an orthopedic guide and an orthodontist guide to help you make the right choice.
Orthopedic vs Orthodontist: Find the Right Care
Now you know the main differences between orthopedic vs orthodontist care. Choose the professional that makes the most sense for you, and you’ll be well on your way toward resolving your issues and improving your quality of life.
Looking for more of the latest health news? Take a look at the other articles on our site for more!