Do I Need A Referral To See An Orthodontist?

It can be confusing enough for someone to learn the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist at first. People often wonder how they relate to one another. Today One Love Orthodontics will answer this common question: Do I need a referral to see an orthodontist?

Dentists & Orthodontists

The easiest way to approach this question is to examine how dentists and orthodontists approach treatment. Oftentimes, if there is a referral to us, it’s coming from a dental office. 

  • A dentist serves as a general dental care provider, similar to a primary care physician in the medical field. Dentists offer a wide range of services, including diagnosing and treating dental problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, and oral infections. Their duties encompass dental cleanings, fillings, and extractions.
  • An orthodontist like our Dr. Dayan specializes in diagnosing, preventing, and managing dental and facial irregularities, particularly issues like misaligned teeth. We focus on correcting and aligning smiles and addressing bite problems, ensuring proper dental and facial alignment.

Compare & Contrast 

With these definitions in mind, let’s look at a couple of topics and see how dentists and orthodontists compare in their practice and background!

  1. Education and Training: 
  • Dentists: Dentists complete a general dentistry program to earn either a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) or a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree. Afterward, they can choose to practice general dentistry or pursue a specialization.
  • Orthodontists: Orthodontists are dentists who have undergone additional training in dentofacial orthopedics and orthodontics, typically requiring an extra two to three years of education.
  1. Scope of Practice: 
  • Dentist: Dentists are often the first point of contact for patients. They provide a range of cosmetic and restorative services and can issue referrals to specialists when necessary.
  • Orthodontist: Orthodontists specialize in correcting teeth and jaw alignment issues using appliances like braces and clear aligners. These treatments can also serve aesthetic purposes, depending on the patient’s needs.

What To Expect With A Dentist

If you’ve mostly visited dentists in your life, you might be more familiar with general dental procedures. These visits typically include the following services:

  • Dental Cleanings: Dentists and dental hygienists perform professional cleanings to remove plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth. This is beneficial for individuals with good oral hygiene habits and crucial for those who need extra care
  • Oral Exams: Dentists examine the condition of your teeth, gums, and oral tissues. This comprehensive assessment is vital for the early detection of problems like cavities or oral diseases.
  • X-rays: Periodic X-rays are taken to assess your dental condition. These images are essential tools that reveal underlying issues within your teeth and provide an additional perspective on your jawbone.
  • Restorative Procedures: General dentists commonly perform fillings to address cavities and decay. They are also skilled in applying crowns, bridges, and dental implants to restore extensively damaged or missing teeth.
  • Oral Surgery: In more severe cases, dentists can perform procedures such as root canals or extractions.

Do I Need A Referral To See An Orthodontist?

Referral to an Orthodontist

If your dentist identifies issues related to tooth alignment or bite problems, it may be time to consult a specialist. Here are some conditions that typically warrant an orthodontic referral:

  • Malocclusion
  • Impacted Teeth
  • Crowding
  • Crooked Teeth 
  • Spacing Issues

That being said, You don’t need a referral from a dentist or other doctor to visit our office. We can and likely will collaborate with your general dentist, but it doesn’t always have to be in a specific order. While referrals often precede consultations, you can initiate treatment with Dr. Dayan of your own volition if you suspect you need it.

What To Expect With An Orthodontist

Dr. Dayan and our team will conduct a thorough exam using similar tools like x-rays and 3D scanning to evaluate your issue. Here are some key parts of elements of our practice:

  • Braces and Orthodontic Appliances: For straightening teeth, our orthodontists can employ traditional braces, clear aligners, headgear, palate expanders, or other options, depending on your situation. At One Love Orthodontics, we offer clear aligners, metal braces, and clear braces.
  • Custom Treatment Plans: After making our diagnosis, we create personalized treatment plans outlining the specific orthodontic procedures needed to correct your alignment issues.
  • Patient Education: We provide education to our patients and their families regarding topics like orthodontic appliances, oral hygiene, and dietary considerations during treatment.
  • Orthodontic Surgery: In special cases, we can collaborate with maxillofacial surgeons and oral surgeons who correct severe jaw or facial alignment issues.

Do I Need A Referral To See An Orthodontist?

The Right Direction

For both dentists and orthodontists, patients are the most integral part of our jobs! All professionals in our fields work to ensure any issues you’re facing can be corrected in a way that aligns with your lifestyle and your health! If you’re curious about treatment, don’t hesitate to reach out to our One Love Orthodontics team at our Brooklyn office. We will see you with or without a prior referral.