Why choose an Orthodontist to do my Orthodontic treatment?

(«Why Should I Choose an Orthodontist?» – Dr. Brian Anderson)

Traducido por Dr. Julio Alberto Fábrega Belizzi

Here is my analysis of why patients should choose an Orthodontist for their Orthodontic treatment, instead of choosing a General Dentist (G.D.O.). I believe that in order to have credibility, we should start by giving the G.D.O.'s credit for being the "experts" in what they do very well: shims, cleanings, crowns, whitening, extractions, etc., and then turn the lens and mention why we are the Orthodontists in whom patients should trust their Orthodontic treatment.

I have used this approach approach who is very tactful when a patient comes in for a second opinion and was considering starting their treatment with an OG. I start by saying something like, "If someone in my family comes to me for a shim, even though I CAN do it - and I am trained and qualified to do it, and I was one of the best in my class doing things like that - I refer them to a colleague who is a general dentist because, to be honest, they are going to be able to give them a higher quality of service, because they do these types of procedures more frequently, and I don't. I'm a general dentist. The GC's are the experts in restorations. And that's exactly why for your orthodontic treatment; you should see an orthodontist because we do orthodontics all day, every day. We are certified and qualified specialists in orthodontics.

So why choose an Orthodontist?

This is not an "extra" business for us, this is what we do all day, every day. With in-depth, advanced specialty training and thousands of hours of experience, an Orthodontist is the right choice to solve your orthodontic problems and needs.

New York Time's best-selling author, Malcom Gladwell, mentions in his book (1) that it takes approximately 10,000 hours to become an expert at doing anything. Assuming for a moment that this is so, it would take an OG approximately 5 years of doing Orthodontics every working day, all day long (assuming 50 working weeks in a year, with 5 working days a week, and 8 working hours a day), to reach 10,000 hours. And they would reach 10,000 hours without the essential basics and fundamentals learned in a specialty program such as a graduate degree. Worse, many of those 10,000 hours would be trial and error. But, let's get back to reality. The GO's who offer to put braces on patients don't do Orthodontics every weekday, let alone all day long. They might see some Orthodontics, but most of their days they would be doing things they are experts at (preparing cavities, restorations, cementing crowns, etc.). That's their bread and butter. To make it simpler, let's say they spend 1 hour a day doing Orthodontics (being well over the top, dare I say). If an OG does Orthodontics 1 hour a day, he or she could say they do "quite a bit" of Orthodontics. Assuming a year has 50 working weeks, with 5 days a week, and 1 hour a day, it will take 40 years for them to be experts in Orthodontics! Considering that most dentists work less than 50 weeks a year, and less than 5 days a week, 40 years is probably an understatement.

For that reason, for your overall dental health care, the smart decision is to see a General Dentist, because he or she is an expert at diagnosing and treating general dental problems. This is what they do all day, every day. Although Orthodontists are also dentists, and we are trained and certified to do General Dentistry procedures such as shimming, you will not want to shim with an Orthodontist because you may receive better and more efficient care from an expert - the General Dentist - who does shimming on a day-to-day basis and has over 10,000 hours doing it.

This is why an Orthodontist is the only smart choice to take care of your orthodontic problems: because their 10,000 hours are supported by a strong foundation based on a formal, well-developed specialty program in a university and clinical setting, which makes them much more solid than having 10,000 hours of trial and error. If you're going to build a house, you better have a good, strong foundation! -this is Engineering 101.

So, take care of yourself: for your General Dentistry treatments, go to the Dentist; but for your orthodontic needs, go to an Orthodontic Specialist. It's very easy to understand!

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