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Specialist— “a person who concentrates primarily on a particular subject or activity; a person highly skilled in a specific and restricted field.”
In life we are constantly at war in our decisions.
Do we do what’s better for us, or what’s easier and more convenient?
While in some scenarios, like “What should I have for lunch today?” the latter kind of thinking does not have significant impact, other choices bear more weight, particularly if they pertain to our health.
Today, more and more people are being convinced by their general dentists not to seek orthodontic treatment from a specialist, but entrust treatment to their general dentistry practice. By emphasizing that you’ll save time and money, dentists have built this into a very persuasive pitch. However, the cost of this convenience is quality. For the truth of the matter is that a general dentist holds general knowledge on dentistry, not the special kind of knowledge you want from the person charged with straightening your teeth and designing your smile.
Think about it this way. If you had a broken window in your house, would you call a general handyman, or a window repair specialist?
Answer: you’d call the window repair specialist because you want the best, most qualified person to do the job. Maybe the handyman could figure it out. Maybe he’d do an okay job. But are “maybe” and “okay” two words that you feel comfortable with when describing the person charged with your orthodontic treatment?
Of course not. You want someone like Dr. Goodman who specializes in, and is held as a renowned expert in that line of work.
While some dentists may dabble in orthodontic treatment—taking periodic courses or cases—orthodontic specialists have been thoroughly and specifically trained in the realm of orthodontics.
To obtain a general dentistry degree, all dentists have to pass the same dental school courses and the same national board exams. As a result, they share a blanket foundation of knowledge on teeth.
After graduation many may seek to enhance their general dentistry knowledge with extra courses on topics such as cosmetic dentistry, implant dentistry, and even orthodontics. However, such courses do not make them specialists. Because again, a specialist is “a person who concentrates primarily on a particular subject or activity; a person highly skilled in a specific and restricted field.”
While a general dentist could take the occasional 8-hour course on orthodontics, or even a 182-hour course spread out over two years, that is nothing in comparison to the minimum 3,840 hours (not including book or lab work) that orthodontists have to complete to be considered specialists in the field.
So, while general dentists may claim that they can take care of your orthodontic treatment, they are not anywhere near as skilled to handle it as orthodontists.. As a result, your results could suffer. By seeking orthodontic treatment from someone who is not specialized in that particular field, you risk more treatment complications and less satisfaction.
Not to say every general dentist will mess up orthodontic treatment. Maybe everything will go smoothly and maybe you will be perfectly happy with the results. But then there’s that word again: maybe…
Don’t let convenience outweigh quality when it comes to decisions regarding your oral health and your smile. If you need orthodontic treatment, go to an orthodontic specialist like your trusted Manhattan and Riverdale orthodontist, Dr. Goodman. It’s a decision that you’ll look back on and smile about for years to come!