General Practitioner or Orthodontic Specialist. What’s The Difference?

General Practitioner or Orthodontic Specialist. What’s The Difference?

There seems to be some confusion when it comes to the difference between a specialist and a general practitioner. Understandable, I mean they both work on your teeth, provide oral health care, and both have graduated from dental school. But you will find many different levels of education for practitioners who perform orthodontic procedures. We would like to clear up the confusion so you can make the right choice when considering orthodontic treatment.

General Practitioner DDS

DDS means Doctor of Dental Surgery. This is an 8 year degree to become a dentist without a dental specialty. This would be your general practitioner or family dentist. Your family practitioner provides you and your family with preventative care like oral hygiene as well as looks for abnormalities in the mouth and teaches patients how to prevent dental disease. Your general practitioner will also look and treat decayed teeth. They usually provide services such as crowns, veneers or bonding, fillings, some root canals and extractions.

Orthodontic Specialist DDS, MS

DDS, MS means Doctor of Dental Surgery with a Master of Science. An orthodontist must complete approximately 8 years of education to become a dentist and 3 years of graduate study in their profession. Some orthodontists have an orthodontic certificate. This is a shorter, less comprehensive 2 year course of study in orthodontics. The scenario is similar to a medical doctor who obtains additional schooling to become a surgeon. Orthodontics is a specialty within dentistry that focuses on tooth alignment and bite correction. For example, frequently, there will be more than one way to treat an orthodontic patient. These decisions can be difficult and a specialist can rely on a greater depth of experience and knowledge while making these decisions. Specialists are more comfortable with greater efforts to expand the jaw, possibly at an earlier age, avoiding the unnecessary loss of teeth.

Orthodontists also deal in a higher volume of their specialty and can offer the newest technology at the most affordable cost vs. a non-specialist. Just as a dentist who deals in a higher volume of dental procedures can offer the newest technology and the most affordable cost for dental procedures.

Many general practitioners perform orthodontic treatment, even though they have not completed residency training in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. Because of this, it is important for patients to determine if they should receive their orthodontic treatment from a general dentist or an orthodontist. In almost every case, the choice will be an orthodontist.

Dr. John J. Lupini DDS, MS not only strived for the best education that could be obtained in his field, he lives locally and his reputation is outstanding. When deciding whether general or specialty is right for you, choose “the best and most experienced local specialist”.

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