Why your smile is so important
Having a beautiful and confident smile has so many benefits - people with beautiful smiles get paid more, your smile makes your first impression, straighter teeth help boost your self confidence, a healthy smile will improve your oral and general health and the best thing...smiling makes you live longer!
We all know it's important to see our dentist regularly for check-ups and cleans, but when do we need to see an Orthodontist? And how is an Orthodontist different from my family dentist? It's super important to know what services each provides, so that when you have a problem with your teeth, gums or another part of your mouth or jaw, you can make an appontment to see the right person.
So, what's an Orthodontist?
A specialist Orthodontist specialises in straightening teeth, making them bite together properly and creating a beautiful and confident smile. They make sure your teeth look right and your mouth functions as it should. They are the specialists in this work because they work exclusively with braces, clear aligners and other orthodontic procedures every single day.
A specialist Orthodontist like Randal is an expert in maintaining the structure that supports your teeth – making sure that your teeth are in the right place and are firmly in your jaw.
And what does a dentist do?
Your dentist on the otherhand is the expert in maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. Dentists treat patients overall oral health. Through regular check-ups, dentists can spot and treat cavities, mild gum disease and oral hygiene problems. Dentists also improve the function and appearance of teeth that have been broken, cracked or severely decayed with fillings, crowns and veneers. If a dentist spots a problem that they aren't qualified to treat, they will refer you to a dental specialists like an Orthodontist, Periodontist, Prosthodontist, Endodontist, Paediatric Dentist or Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon.
So, what's the difference between a specialist Orthodontist and a dentist?
An Orthodontist is a qualified dentist who has chosen to specialise in this area of dentistry by completing a further three years of postgraduate university-based training. An Orthodontist focuses mainly on correcting the position of your teeth and jaw, rather than day-to-day maintenance such as fillings, crowns and wisdom teeth removal.
Just as there are specialists in medicine (such as Cardiologists, Gastroenterologists, Neurologists, etc.), there are specialists in dentistry. Just like you’re best to get a Cardiologist to perform your heart surgery, you’re also best to choose an specialist Orthodontist for your orthodontic treatment.
Can your family dentist provide you with orthodontic treatment?
Your family dentist is the expert in maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. A specialist Orthodontist like Randal is an expert in maintaining the structure that supports your teeth – making sure that your teeth are in the right place and are firmly in your jaw.
Whilst some dentists do offer orthodontic treatment, here's why you're best to choose an Orthodontist for your treatment.
Who would you choose an Orthodontist over a dentist?
Because of Randal’s expertise, and the extra three years plus orthodontic training and study that he’s done, you’re best to choose Randal for your orthodontic treatment, because he’s a specialist Orthodontist.
Only a specialist Orthodontist has the experience and knowledge to deliver the most safe and effective treatment. Orthodontists like Randal dedicate their lives to keeping up to date with the latest in the field of orthodontics. This is why seeing a New Zealand registered Orthodontist for any orthodontic treatment you have will help ensure you have real confidence in the quality of care you will receive. After all, it's what they do all day, every day.
When should you see an Orthodontist?
Anyone, of any age can have orthodontic treatment. Randal uses his extensive skills and experience to manage orthodontic problems in both children and adults of any age.
If you're worried about your childs smile, their teeth, or whether they will need treatment, a great time to get an orthodontic opinion for your child is when the upper front baby teeth have fallen out and the adult replacement teeth have come through. We recommend an initial orthodontic examination, if required, around the age of seven or eight years old but most treatment should not start at this time. Randal will then follow a child through growth and determine when AND IF there is a need for treatment to commence.
If you’re an adult, and you’d like to improve the appearance of, your confidence in, or the health of your smile, you can get in touch with Randal just whenever you are ready.
How do you know that you've choosen an Orthodontist for your treatment?
It's important to make sure that you've going to a registered Orthodontist for your orthodontic treatment. You can ask them directly - only specialist Orthodontists have completed their dental degree PLUS another 3 years of full-time study specific to orthodontics. You can also check whether someone is an Orthodontist by using the tool at the bottom of this page.
If you've got more questions that we've not answered here, pop over to our FAQ page or get in touch.
Keen to get in touch?
Dr Randal McAlister is a specialist Orthodontist at Hey Bunyan McAlister Orthodontists located at 2 Walter Macdonald Street in Howick, Auckland. Randal commenced his specialist orthodontic practice in Howick in 1997 and has been there ever since. You can learn more about Randal here or get in touch here.