6 Advantages Dentists Practicing Orthodontics Have Over Orthodontists

Add orthodontics to your skillset so your patients (and your practice) can benefit. 

Are you a general dentist thinking about adding orthodontics to your practice? Enhancing your skills in this area is a great way to attract new patients, cater to existing ones, and grow your reputation throughout your community. 

In fact, with continuing education in orthodontics, you can even enjoy several advantages that orthodontists don’t have access to. Today, we’re sharing 6 reasons why this is a smart move, and how you can get started today. 

1. Get Started Sooner

The path to becoming a dentist requires rigorous academic and clinical work, but you already know that. Once you completed your bachelor’s degree, you attended dental school, which likely took at least four years. Then, you chose one of two courses of study: Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD).

From there, you completed your training and passed the national written exam, as well as a state or regional licensing exam, before you officially started practicing. Even now, you’re required to complete a set number of continuing education courses per year. 

If you choose to become an orthodontist, then there’s even more work required beyond that. You’ll also need to attend a specialized residency training program to achieve a certificate in the field. This program typically takes at least two years, and can often take much longer.

While all of this training is a necessary part of the job, it also requires a greater investment of time, money, and energy. On the other hand, general dentists who study orthodontics can minimize those requirements and start practicing sooner. You’ve already got the foundation in place, and continuing education in orthodontics is all that’s needed. 

2. Offer More Affordable Treatment

Another reason to add orthodontics to your dentistry practice? General dentists who practice orthodontics can often offer more affordable treatments than an orthodontist can provide. 

While these treatments and services can be life changing for your patients, the reality is that many of them can also be cost-prohibitive. While most offices will offer payment plans to make the process more affordable, the price point can still be too high for many families.

This is especially the case for adults who wish to straighten their teeth. While most health insurance plans will cover at least a portion of the costs incurred for school-age orthodontics, that same coverage often fades when the patient reaches 18 years of age. 

By offering affordable and accessible orthodontic services, you can appeal to a greater number of current and prospective patients. This can help you distinguish your office as a go-to facility for anyone seeking quality dental care at a fair price.

3. Help Patients Find the Care They Need

When a patient needs to see an orthodontic specialist, it should be easy to find a qualified and experienced professional who can help. However, recent research shows that there is a growing shortage of dental professionals who have completed the previously advanced degrees in orthodontics. 

This can make it difficult, if not impossible, for patients to find the help they require. When you learn orthodontics, you can expand your services to include these types of treatments. This way, your current and future patients will know exactly who to turn to when they’re ready to straighten their smiles. 

4. Offer a More Comprehensive Expertise

Dentist–patient communication is key, although it doesn’t always come easily at times. Many patients have specific dental concerns or anxieties, but aren’t exactly comfortable voicing them in the chair. For instance, they may worry about the cost of their treatment, the types of tools they might encounter, or the level of pain they may experience. 

All of these questions might be filling the mind of a patient who needs orthodontic services but isn’t quite ready to take the next step. Before they commit to a specific treatment, they want to learn as much about it as possible and understand how it will affect their greater oral health.

As a general dentist, you already have this comprehensive knowledge in spades. You’ve studied every aspect of dental care, and you perform a wide range of services on a daily basis. As such, you can speak to their concerns as a knowledgeable voice of authority.

While an orthodontist will have completed the same academic training, they’ve spent years specializing in a specific field. As such, they might not be as up-to-date on other aspects of general dental care. 

5. Understand the Greater, Whole-Body Connection

One of the benefits of learning orthodontics is that you can fully understand how these types of treatments can affect and benefit a patient’s overall health. Then, you can pass that knowledge on to curious patients who may be on the fence about pursuing treatment. 

For instance, in your studies, you’ll learn that aligning a patient’s teeth correctly can improve speech and bite problems. In addition, it can help them clean around their teeth more easily, which prevents harmful bacteria from growing on their teeth and gums. Left untreated, chronic oral infections can lead to a range of health conditions, including diabetes, respiratory complications, and heart disease. 

Understanding this whole-body connection is key, and as a general dental practitioner, you can explain it to a wider audience who may require treatment now or in the future. 

6. Work With Existing Patients

If you’re a general dentist who offers orthodontic services, then you don’t have to worry about referring your patients to another specialist, and you don’t have to wait for other dentists to refer patients to you. 

You can serve your current patients, right where they are. You already have a close working knowledge of all of their oral health concerns, as well as their dental history. You’re the one best equipped to serve them on their next step in this journey, and you can do it all from your office. 

Pursue Continuing Education in Orthodontics

Now that we’ve covered a few of the top reasons to add professional orthodontics to your general dentistry practice, are you ready to get started?

Our courses can help you meet continuing education (CE) requirements, expand your technical and clinical knowledge in this field, and transform your approach to patient treatment. While we’d love to see you in class, we also offer opportunities to complete your CE online for maximum convenience. By adding orthodontics to your services, you can treat, expand, and enhance your approach to dental care. Check out our current course list today and sign up! 

To learn more about our popular orthodontics courses for pediatric and general dentists, check out one of the upcoming events below.

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