Dentists: Incorporate Orthodontics Into Every Evaluation

5 Reasons To Prioritize Orthodontics in Your Practice

Dentists need to get away from the old-school thinking that orthodontics does not apply to them. If you are a licensed dentist and are treating cosmetic dentistry and prosthodontics cases, then orthodontics is, or should be, a major component of your treatment—just like your primary care physician not specializing in cardiology does not exempt him or her from understanding cardiology and heart conditions, treating some issues, and referring those that are out of their scope of practice.

Orthodontics should be a part of every dental evaluation because without understanding the basics of occlusion, you are doing your patients a disservice that could promote long-term bite problems, TMJ, and pain. Most dentists avoid anything to do with orthodontics because of a lack of training. But the good news is you can easily get the training and education you need to bring orthodontics into your practice by taking orthodontic courses with the American Orthodontic Society (AOS). 

Without making orthodontics a priority in your office, a dental evaluation is simply not complete. Here are the top reasons why an orthodontic evaluation should be a part of every patient evaluation.

1. Early orthodontic intervention avoids long-term problems.

Dentists who take orthodontic courses understand that early intervention is key to preventing dental problems like overcrowding, impacted teeth, and hygiene issues. General dentistry and orthodontics go hand in hand because your younger patients’ mouths are changing and developing. 

When you are able to diagnose and treat adolescents with expansion and braces if needed, it changes their profile in a positive way and expands their upper arch to allow for teeth eruption and improved breathing and sleeping. Early orthodontics helps patients avoid needing permanent-tooth extractions because of impacted teeth or orthognathic surgery to correct a Class III malocclusion. 

Learning about early orthodontics and incorporating it into your dental evaluations is an important part of ensuring your patients are receiving care if and when they need it. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends every patient get an orthodontic consult by the age of 7. You’ll be doing your young patients a huge favor by providing comprehensive treatment if you make orthodontic evaluations a priority during their recall visits. 

2. Undiagnosed treatment can cause oral health issues.

You may be monitoring orthodontic issues, but are you confident you know what you’re looking for? Dentists need to have a basic foundation of orthodontics to properly evaluate occlusion and how it impacts a patient’s eating, speaking, and breathing. When a dentist does not make an orthodontic evaluation part of every routine dental checkup, there are many dental problems that can go undiagnosed and cause oral health problems. 

The reason your patient may have periodontal problems is because their teeth are overcrowded and plaque gets caught under the gum because of poor brushing. A patient’s pesky snoring or grinding could be due to a high palate or tongue-tie that requires orthodontic treatment. 

Consider taking an orthodontic course with the AOS so you have the fundamentals needed to properly keep an eye on your patients’ orthodontic statuses and know the correct way to treat or refer cases. 

3. Orthodontics can improve a patient’s self-esteem.

Just because a patient is cavity-free or has a healthy, white smile doesn’t mean they feel good about the way their teeth look. The next time a patient comes in for a dental visit, ask them if there is anything that they would change or if they are comfortable with their smile. You’ll see many patients begin to ask about their options to create a straight, more harmonious smile.

When you discuss orthodontics and braces with patients, it could have a dramatic impact on their work and social life. Straight teeth give people confidence to smile in photos and to be more likely to put themselves out there both professionally and personally.   

4. Orthodontic specialists have a better understanding of when treatment is needed.

An orthodontic course is important because it teaches dentists the ways to diagnose Class I and Class II malocclusions, but research also shows orthodontic specialists have a better grasp of when treatment is contraindicated. Dentists who are untrained in orthodontics have a higher rate of believing orthodontics is contraindicated in periodontal patients and implant patients. 

If dentists have a poor attitude about orthodontics in periodontal or implant patients, it could delay or even prevent necessary treatment that could benefit their oral health. This type of research indicates dentists should have orthodontic training to avoid their patients going without needed orthodontics. 

5. Boost your office production by offering orthodontics.

Offering orthodontics as part of your treatment services not only benefits your patients but also increases your revenue. Adding an orthodontic evaluation helps patients who need orthodontics get the treatment they need to improve their oral health, and it creates more production in your office. 

If each orthodontic case costs patients around $5,000 and you treat five cases a month, this could easily give you up to $300,000 more in collections and change the way your office operates. Instead of working harder, work smarter. Cut out low-paying insurance reimbursements and lengthy dental cases that you can refer out, and add in orthodontic cases that are less of a physical burden and higher paying for your practice. 

An orthodontic evaluation is not a luxury for patients but should be required because of all the benefits it provides. Diagnosing early intervention cases to avoid longer treatment times and extraction or surgery cases can change the oral health trajectory of a young person. Orthodontics prevents long-term problems and can improve the way a person feels about their smile. If you’re a dentist who wants to add orthodontic evaluations, take a course with the AOS to get the foundation and support system needed to change your professional career for the better. 

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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