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August 2021

Your Sacramento Ortho Explains the Difference Between Oral Surgeons and Orthodontists

By sacramento ortho, Orthodontics

orthodontist vs oral surgeon

If you’re in need of care for your bite, jaw, wisdom teeth, or crowded teeth, you may be unsure about which dental professional you should visit—an orthodontist or an oral surgeon. This overview will clear common confusion regarding these two dental professions.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes several dental specialties. A few of the more well-known oral healthcare providers are:

  • General dentists
  • Endodontists
  • Periodontists
  • Prosthodontists
  • Orthodontists
  • Oral Surgeons

Aside from attending dental school and holding memberships in dental organizations, oral surgeons and orthodontists have different roles. How do oral surgeons and orthodontists differ? In a nutshell, an orthodontist specializes in straightening teeth, while an oral surgeon is the surgical specialist of the dental profession.

Continue reading to learn more about the differences between these two professions.

What Does Their Education Look Like?

Both oral surgeons and orthodontists are required to complete a bachelor’s degree and four years of dental school. Afterward, they complete a residency in their specialties.

Oral Surgeons

An oral surgeon’s four-year residency focuses on an in-depth study of the anatomy of the skin, bones, and muscles of the face, mouth, and jaws.

During this program, the residents learn plastic surgery, emergency medicine, and ears, nose, and throat medicine (collectively called otolaryngology). This four-year residency is specifically chosen and accredited by the American Dental Association.

Oral Surgeons are technically titled oral and maxillofacial surgeons. These doctors are specialists focusing on reconstructive surgery of the face, facial trauma surgery, the oral cavity, head and neck, mouth, jaws, and facial cosmetic surgery.

Orthodontists

After completing dental school, an orthodontist’s residency focuses on properly aligning teeth. The aim goes beyond delivering beautiful smiles. Orthodontists help patients overcome problems with their speech, bite, and chewing.

Orthodontists focus on non-surgical treatments that realign a patient’s dental structures. We rely on orthodontic appliances such as braces and clear aligners to apply gradual force on patients’ teeth. This process ensures we will safely move your teeth and jaws until they reach the desired position.

The Conditions Treated

Oral surgeons and orthodontists treat a variety of dental issues, and they often work together to fix a common problem. For example, patients who have jaw or facial deformities or need corrective jaw surgery may require both specialists.

Both orthodontists and oral surgeons commonly refer patients to each other for specialized treatments.

Common Oral Surgical Issues Include

  • Impacted wisdom teeth
  • Tooth loss
  • TMJ disorder
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Fractured jawbone
  • Broken facial bones
  • Cleft lip
  • Sleep apnea

What the Best Orthodontist in Sacramento Treats

  • Crowded teeth
  • Gapped teeth
  • Open bite
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Impacted teeth

Oral Surgeon Vs. Orthodontist

Most of the time, patients with jaw and facial deformities will need both oral surgery and orthodontic treatment.

When corrective jaw surgery is necessary, oral surgeons work together with orthodontists to develop comprehensive treatment plans. It’s essential to keep in mind that every individual is different, and so are their treatment needs for the perfect smile.

So, always follow your orthodontist’s treatment recommendations if you want the best results.

What Is Orthognathic Surgery?

Orthognathic surgery is what some people know as corrective jaw surgery or simply jaw surgery. This procedure serves to correct jaw and lower face conditions related to structure, growth, and airway issues.

Some of those problems include sleep apnea, TMJ disorders, and malocclusion problems arising from skeletal disharmonies. Other patients may also require jaw surgery when they suffer from orthodontic bite problems that cannot be easily treated with braces.

If a patient has other facial imbalances, disharmonies, and asymmetries, they may also require orthognathic surgery. These corrections can help to improve facial aesthetics and self-esteem for the patient.

What Are the Risks of Oral Surgery?

As with any surgery, oral surgeries involve some risks. Even the most common surgery for tooth extractions carries the risk of damaging nerves.

An extreme case involves the damage of facial nerves, leading to loss of feeling or sensibility around the area. However, this is extremely rare.

Common side effects you can expect after undergoing oral surgery are pain, bleeding, swelling, and occasional infections. These side effects are easy to treat and are often quick to disappear. Dental surgeons will usually prescribe antibiotics to prevent and fight off any type of infection.

The Right Treatment for You

No matter what your dental problem, often, the best place to start is with your orthodontist.

Oral surgery is invasive by nature. Orthodontists are more likely to offer conservative treatments to address common dental issues, meaning you will reap the same benefits without sowing as much of your time, money, and energy.

Your orthodontist will have your best interests in mind. If oral surgery is necessary, they will refer you to an oral surgical specialist.

You may also want to ask your general dentist for advice on where to start. Your general dentist knows your oral health history, and they will understand your specific needs and goals.

Schedule an Appointment Today

If you need orthodontic treatment, your Sacramento orthodontists at Markham Orthodontics are prepared and excited to help you achieve a beautiful, fully functioning smile.

Read our testimonials page to hear from our satisfied patients, and browse our website to learn more about our dental practice and the services we offer.

To schedule your appointment with one of our top-of-the-line orthodontists or for any questions, contact our friendly staff today at 916-525-8566.

 

brushing with braces

Interdental Brushing for People with Braces

By Orthodontics

Proper brushing techniques are the key to maintaining a healthy smile with braces. Read this blog to learn how interdental brushing can improve your oral health.

Orthodontic treatment can make it difficult for a patient to clean their teeth. This can lead to plaque build-up around the teeth, brackets, and wires. To counteract this, the orthodontist will give specific instructions on how to brush properly to prevent cavities, gum disease, and dental stains. In addition to using a traditional toothbrush, he may also recommend interdental brushing—another highly effective method for maintaining a healthy smile.

An interdental brush (IDB) is a small, specially designed brush used to clean between the teeth or brackets where a traditional toothbrush can’t reach. Those without braces use an interdental brush to clean between the teeth, but orthodontic patients also use them to clean around and between the brackets and wires on their teeth.

Read this blog to learn how to use an interdental brush properly and how interdental brushing is beneficial for people with braces.

How To Use an Interdental Brush

Before purchasing an IDB, be sure to ask your orthodontist which size will work best for your smile. Interdental brushes come in various sizes—correlated by color— to benefit all types of smiles.

Orthodontic patients should use the interdental brush one time per day after brushing with a traditional toothbrush.

To properly utilize an interdental brush, follow these instructions:

  1. Move the appliance up and down on either side of the brackets
  2. Pass the brush along the orthodontic wire when moving from one tooth to another, continuing to move it up and down
  3. Rinse after each use
  4. Replace the brush when it begins to look worn

The Benefits of Interdental Brushing

Aside from helping patients maintain good oral health, an interdental brush provides several benefits, especially when compared to dental floss.

The advantages of interdental brushing include:

  • Easy use
  • Patient compliance
  • Higher motivation
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Safe to use

Often, orthodontists instruct patients on using dental floss to clean between their teeth and brackets. It can be a complicated process that many patients won’t give a second thought about when they leave the orthodontist’s office.

IDBs offers all of the same advantages along with the simplicity of use. Patients with dexterity issues have a greater appreciation for this appliance because there are variations of the brush with a long, bent handle.

brushing with braces

More Ways to Keep Your Mouth Healthy

Braces offer so many benefits and provide patients with beautiful smiles! However, braces also require proper care and responsibility. To ensure you have the best orthodontic experience, follow these guidelines:

  • Avoid chewy, crunchy, sticky, and hard food
  • Avoid foods that require biting into
  • Do eat soft foods like dairy, bread, grains, seafood, cooked vegetables, and fruits
  • Rinse with salt water when you’re mouth feels tender or sore
  • Learn how to fix a loose wire
  • Utilize wax to relieve irritation
  • Wear a mouthguard

If you follow these tips and other specific instructions from your orthodontist, you’re sure to have a great orthodontic experience. Along with having a beautiful smile at the end of treatment, you’ll also have a healthy one!

The Importance Of Oral Hygiene

It doesn’t matter if you are currently undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces or not. Oral hygiene is essential, more so than patients tend to believe. Dental hygiene is vital to an individual’s overall health and well-being.

Untreated oral diseases may increase the risk of adverse health conditions. Thus, maintaining good oral hygiene is important in improving your oral health and overall well-being. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Poor oral health is associated with other chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Oral disease is also associated with risk behaviors such as using tobacco and consuming sugary foods and beverages”.

It’s important to think of your mouth as the door that leads to the internal parts of your body. Your mouth also serves as a starting point for detecting early symptoms of systemic diseases. Diabetes, for example, often starts to become noticeable with a mouth lesion or gum infection. Furthermore, patients who have periodontal disease have a greater risk of suffering from heart disease.

Lastly, poor oral hygiene can also be a determining factor in the cause of:

  • Bacterial Pneumonia
  • Infective Endocarditis
  • Cancer
  • Sepsis

As you can see, keeping your teeth and mouth clean can help to have a beautiful smile and prevent many severe health conditions. However, don’t be alarmed; all you need to do is keep a good oral hygiene routine.

How To Keep A Good Oral Hygiene Routine

At Markham Orthodontics, we understand that keeping a good oral hygiene routine can be difficult and maybe even confusing, even more so while you have braces. So, let’s take a look at some things you can do and how to do them correctly.

Remember to Brush Your Teeth

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day, taking at least about two minutes to do a great job.
  • Don’t forget to clean your tongue, which harbors bacteria, with a toothbrush or tongue scraper.
  • Use the proper equipment. Always try to use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. You can also use an electric or battery-operated toothbrush if preferred—polish your technique. Gently brush with circular short back-and-forth motions. Brushing too hard or with hard bristles can hurt your gums.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months

Don’t Forget About Dental Flossing

It doesn’t matter if you brush or floss first. What matters is you use flossing to reach the bacteria in the tight spaces between your teeth and under the gum line. However, when you floss, keep in mind:

  • Use about 18 inches of dental floss. Guide the floss between your teeth using a rubbing motion.
  • Take it one tooth at a time. Slide the floss into the space between your gum and tooth. Use the floss to gently rub the side of the tooth in an up-and-down motion.

Don’t Skip Routine Appointments

Keeping routine appointments is very important. Make sure always to keep the scheduled appointments. During these appointments, your dentists will solve not only current problems but also prevent new ones.

  • Usually, we would recommend you have a cleaning and checkup twice a year or every six months, to be exact.

Contact Our Sacramento Orthodontists Today

At Markham Orthodontics, Dr. David Markham and Dr. Steven Scott provide excellent, gentle care to patients of all ages. Our goal is to help patients achieve a beautiful, healthy smile that they can’t wait to show off.

Call our friendly dental team today.

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