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Can’t My Dentist Provide My Orthodontic Treatment?

getting braces from orthodontist

La Habra/Chino Hills, CA – These days we’re seeing more dental offices offering some form of orthodontic treatment, especially options such as Invisalign or Clear Correct. At first glance this may seem convenient – you already have a relationship and are at that office for visits. But if you look further, you’ll realize you should trust your orthodontic treatment to a well-trained orthodontist

Let’s look at the differences between orthodontists and dentists for a better understanding.


Dentists first go to college to earn a bachelor’s degree, then they go on to dental school. After completing their four-year doctoral program, they can go on to begin practicing general dentistry. 

Dentists provide regular check-ups, diagnose and treat cavities and gum disease, as well as other oral hygiene issues. They can extract teeth when necessary, and provide cosmetic or restorative treatments, such as veneers, crowns or bridges. Dentists also check for oral disease and provide education on maintaining your oral health.


Orthodontists begin the same way as dentists – they obtain a bachelor’s degree before going on to an accredited dental school for a four-year doctoral program. After graduating, he or she is a dentist and could choose to begin practicing. However, some graduates opt for a dental specialty. Orthodontics is one of those. In order to call oneself an orthodontist, one must be accepted into and complete a two-to-three-year orthodontic residency program. This is where the orthodontist studies the intricacies of dental malocclusions and gains the knowledge and skill necessary to treat orthodontic patients.

“Every orthodontist is a dentist, however, not every dentist is an orthodontist,” says Dr. Robert Gire of Gire Orthodontics. “This is an important distinction, especially as we are seeing more dentists offering treatment options such as Invisalign in their offices. And because I’m an orthodontist, you’re probably thinking I have to say that. But I say it for a very important reason – and that’s because we, as orthodontists, have unique training in the science of moving teeth that a general dentist just doesn’t have.”

Orthodontists are trained to guide teeth to their ideal positions, as well as ensuring a bite is strong and jaws are properly aligned, in order to create a stable, harmonious and beautiful smile. Orthodontists like Dr. Gire offer a variety of treatment plans and options, rather than just one, for an important reason – not every treatment is right for every patient. Today, there is a system available just to orthodontists called Spark clear aligners. This is truly the next generation of aligners as the aligners are more clear, stain less, stronger, and more predictable. Spark clear aligners is a system taking the world by storm with its effectiveness and predictability of providing the best smiles today. 

There are general dentists that perform orthodontics well and perhaps they’ve had extensive training. This is not the norm however. If treatment doesn’t progress well, you’ll definitely want to have an orthodontic specialist modifying your specific treatment plan to make sure things are successful and to ensure that you don’t have long term bite issues which could cause your teeth to chip and break over time. This is a common problem with some of the mail-order and do-it-yourself aligners that you can order off the internet. 

Invisalign and Clear Correct are a few orthodontic treatment options that dentists receive training on. But these clear aligners aren’t always the most ideal option for every patient. Some patients have malocclusions that are too severe to be properly treated with it while others may just not respond well to treatment. If your provider is only trained on one type of treatment, what happens if that treatment doesn’t work and needs to be changed? Will your provider recognize that a change needs to happen? 

If you visit Dr. Gire’s website, you’ll see he offers a host of treatment options. This is because orthodontic treatment is not one size fits all. He is well-versed in everything from standard metal braces to Spark clear aligners to Invisalign and everything in between, You may have heard about Invisalign and think it sounds appealing, but once you visit an orthodontist and learn about all the treatments available, you may think again. There are now other clear aligner options that have more advanced plastics and make treatment faster and more efficient. 

But even if clear aligners are your treatment of choice and you’re an ideal candidate for it, it should still be left in the hands of an orthodontist. That’s because an orthodontist like Dr. Gire treats patients with clear aligners daily. Moving teeth is what an orthodontist does every day. Most orthodontists see upwards of 60-80 patients per day while a typical general dentist may see 12-15 patients per day with only one or two being a basic clear aligner orthodontics case. Dr. Gire knows clear aligner systems in and out and can leverage his knowledge and experience to ensure your smile exceeds your expectations. 

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