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What is an Orthodontist?

The best way to learn about orthodontics, braces, and Invisalign for yourself or your child, is of course by coming in for a complimentary consultation! But, I get questions all the time- from family, friends, strangers on a plane… so I will be sharing content related to some of the most common questions I come across as an orthodontist.

What is an Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dentist who has completed an additional 2-3 years of schooling beyond dental school to become a specialist. This means that all orthodontists are dentists first, but out of 100 dental school graduates only 6 go on to become orthodontists. It is a highly competitive field with about 15 applicants for each open position. Dr. Hocking completed 3 years of additional specialty education after dental school.

Do I NEED braces?

I get this question a lot! It is often followed by “What would happen if I do not get treatment?” The truth of the matter is this: You need water, food and shelter. Beyond this, the things we do for ourselves and our children are really to enhance or make our lives better. To date I have never seen a patient expire from lack of braces. With that being said, there are some great benefits to orthodontic treatment, and ramifications from not treating an improper bite or misalignment of teeth. A colleague of mine puts it in a way that I think we all can appreciate: Technically you don’t need pants, but I think we can all agree on the benefits of pant-wearing.

Do I believe that orthodontic treatment can enhance a person’s smile, bite, overall dental health, and confidence? Yes absolutely! If a patient has misalignment, spacing, crowding, or an improper bite, then yes, orthodontic treatment can make a big difference in the patient’s bite and overall appearance, and can often lead to improved self-confidence and self-worth. Upon initial examination I discuss with patients whether their treatment is mostly for esthetic improvement or if there is a significant bite improvement that can be made. Often times it is a combination of both. When a bite is brought into an ideal bite, patients can often experience less wear on their teeth and improved function. Additionally, crooked teeth tend to be difficult to clean, which can lead to cavities or periodontal issues down the road. Straight teeth are much easier to brush and floss, therefore making it significantly easier to keep your teeth, gums, and bones healthy!

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