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Here in Australia, we are lucky to be spoiled for choice when it comes to the range of oral health services available to us. From your general dentist to oral surgeons and orthodontists, Australia is privileged to access the right oral health care providers when we need it most. However, sometimes having so many specialists can make it a little confusing to know who you need to be seeing and for which reason.

Here at Ethos, we notice that when we first meet our patients, they are often unsure of the difference between their general dentist and an orthodontist. We’ve outlined some of the key differences between each profession, so you can better understand what it is that we offer here at Ethos Orthodontics.

What is the role of a dentist?

All qualified Australian dentists must complete a General Dental Degree before practising. Just like your family GP, dentists are skilled general practitioners who can diagnose and treat oral health problems and well as common diseases affecting your teeth, mouth and gums. Additionally, dentists can practice general oral care for patients of all ages.

Here are three reasons you might visit a general dentist:

  • General oral health: maintaining regular appointments and check-ups for cleaning and assessments.
  • Teeth whitening
  • Fillings and extractions

What is the role of an orthodontist?

To be a qualified and practising orthodontist, one must complete a General Dental Degree and an additional three years of full-time university training in orthodontics. This training also includes the study of facial growth, development, biology and biomechanics. These qualifications allow orthodontists to diagnose and treat crooked teeth, bad bites, and poorly aligned jaws. Orthodontists are qualified to treat children, teens and adults.

Here are three concerns you would see your orthodontist for:

  • Teeth straightening: They are the experts and can provide you with treatment options, including metal, ceramic or lingual braces, or aligner treatment.
  • Resolving issues with jaw alignment: this can occur from an accident or crooked teeth.
  • Repairing broken brackets or wires during orthodontic treatment.

Do you visit a dentist or orthodontist for your wisdom teeth?

When undertaking orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist will examine your wisdom teeth and evaluate whether they are likely to affect the positioning of your teeth in the future. This is often discussed in the initial treatment planning.

In cases where your wisdom teeth require removal, an orthodontist may refer you to a dentist. Although, if your wisdom teeth appear to be severely impacted, a specialist surgeon may need to safely remove them under a general anaesthetic.

Do you need a referral before seeing an orthodontist?

While any dentist and orthodontist treatments work hand-in-hand with one another, you don’t need a referral to see an orthodontist. Additionally, you are not required to visit the orthodontist your dentist recommends. Often your general dentist will suggest a clinic which they have a positive working relationship with or one they think might be best suited for your needs.

There are so many Brisbane Orthodontists, who do you choose?

Given that treatments generally last between six months and two years, you need to pick an orthodontist close and easily accessible to you. Here at Ethos, we have nine locations across the Brisbane area, from North Lakes and Redcliffe, all the way down to Browns Plains and Loganholme.

Don’t feel uncomfortable asking your orthodontist what qualifications or credentials they have. You are trusting them to work on your teeth, so you have a right to feel safe and comfortable throughout your entire treatment. At Ethos Orthodontics, we pride ourselves on our experience, and the team is hand-picked by our founders Marcus Tod and Kent Farmer (who share more than 50 years orthodontic experience).

If you have any other questions as to what Ethos Orthodontics can offer you, or if you are unsure whether you need to see a dentist or orthodontist, speak to our team today, we are happy to help.