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The difference between the orthodontist and dentist who does orthodontics.

November 2nd, 2016

It is getting harder to tell the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist who does orthodontics. What is an orthodontist? What makes him different than a dentist who does orthodontics? Does it really matter?

An orthodontist is a licensed dentist who, after graduating from dental school, returns to a university or medical center accredited by the American Dental Association for two to three years of comprehensive training in the correction of every type of malocclusion (bad smiles and bites). Getting into an orthodontic specialty program is very competitive. Students who are accepted into post-graduate residencies have usually graduated at the top of their dental school class. Orthodontic residents devote at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 24 to 36 months learning to diagnose and treat everything from a little space that can be fixed with a simple retainer to the most difficult underbite that requires 3 to 4 years of treatment in addition to jaw surgery. That amounts to 4,000 to 6,000 additional hours of intense, supervised training after dental school.

Orthodontists also received post-graduate level courses in genetics, statistics, growth and development, orthodontic theory, biomechanics, research techniques, surgical orthodontics, and cleft palate just to name a few.

When a dental student passes his boards, he becomes legally licensed to provide all dental procedures regardless of his training or experience. They can clean teeth, fill cavities, make crowns, bridges, and dentures, do simple root canals, and perform simple extractions. After graduation, there are continuing education courses available that allow dentists to further their education and expand the range of services they offer in their practices. Some of these are offered at universities, but most are for-profit courses offered by vendors on the weekends in hotels or conference centers. Unlike competitive university specialty programs, the only requirement for these courses is payment of the enrollment fees. Whereas university based specialty programs give residents two to three years of invaluable hands-on clinical experience, weekend courses may not even allow the doctor to perform a single procedure on a real patient before offering it in his own practice. Additionally, weekend courses have no way of overseeing the progression of treatment or helping out the inexperienced doctor should something go wrong since the seminar instructor is long gone.

While a few for-profit orthodontic continuing education courses may take place on multiple weekends during a one or two year span, in my mind it would be difficult for them to duplicate the experience that an orthodontic resident receives in 4,000 to 6,000 hours of full-time residency. Most weekend orthodontic training courses offer a two-day schedule that spends more time on marketing and promotion than it does on diagnosis and treatment planning. Is it plausible that a general dentist can produce the same results as a specialist after a single two-day course?  Furthermore, does is make sense that they can do it in a shorter time and for less money? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Even though your primary care physician can legally perform surgery on your heart, give you a nose job, or treat you for psychiatric problems, wouldn’t you seek the skills of a specialist if you needed these services? Your smile and bite are just as important. Before you let anyone straighten your teeth, ask them specifically if they are a specialist (an orthodontist) and how many years of additional training they had to become licensed as a specialist. You only have one smile. Shouldn’t you put it into the hands of a qualified orthodontist?

Your Dental Benefits!

October 20th, 2016

THE END OF THE YEAR IS approaching fast! Before year’s end, our team wants to remind you to take a look at your dental insurance benefits!

Insurance Benefits Typically Don’t Roll Over To Next Year

Each year your dental insurance company probably gives you a maximum amount of available benefits. Since those benefits don’t typically roll over into the following year, you’ll want to contact us now to get your appointment scheduled!

We all know how it is, once the holiday season is upon us—hectic! Life can get really busy. So remember that your dental health is incredibly important—not just for the sake of your teeth, but for your overall health. If you’re due (or overdue) for an appointment, make sure to talk to our office. Take advantage of those dental insurance benefits before time is up!

If you have an unscheduled treatment plan and unused benefits – now is the time to call! Our number is 630.914.6060.

Gum Disease & Your Child

October 19th, 2016

At Chawla Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry & Oral Surgery, we know that unfortunately, gum disease can exist in your child’s mouth without you even knowing. In fact, your child may be suffering from the beginning stages of periodontal (gum) disease without noticing any pain or discomfort. Since gum disease can be undetectable, it’s critical to watch for the warning signs in order to prevent the disease from growing worse!

If your child is experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may want to consider scheduling an appointment with our specialists as soon as possible:

  • Gums that are red or swollen
  • Gums that feel tender
  • Gums that bleed easily during brushing or flossing
  • Gums that are receding
  • Persistent halitosis (bad breath)
  • Loose teeth
  • Any change in the way teeth come together in the biting position

If your child is experiencing these symptoms, schedule an appointment right away by calling our Westmont, IL office and our team can diagnose the problem and begin treatment to save your child’s teeth!

We look forward to seeing you!

Celebrating National Orthodontic Health Month!

October 17th, 2016

What does the month of October mean to you? For people in the northern hemisphere, October is when the weather starts to get a little chilly: heavy jackets might come out of storage and the summer clothing gets packed away. You might start making plans for the upcoming holidays or looking at the beautiful and changing autumn scenery.

October means something a little different to our team at Chawla Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry & Oral Surgery because this is National Orthodontic Health Month. During October, orthodontic clinics all over the country work together to promote their services and inform the community about the important work we do.

National Orthodontic Health Month is an awareness campaign created cooperatively by orthodontists and other dental health professionals. During this month, we make a special effort to promote dental health and orthodontic health in particular. This is a great time to get your questions answered by orthodontic specialists in your community and to learn more about exactly what an orthodontist can do for you and your family. Events held in connection with National Orthodontic Health Month are also an opportunity for us orthodontists to come out and meet community members. If you have never been to an orthodontist before, you might not know what to expect. Meeting one of us in person before your checkup is a great way to find out what kind of person you’ll be seeing during your appointment.

We invite you to our office to come meet our orthodonists Dr. Sumit Chawla and Dr. Jag Chawla. We don't want anyone to avoid seeing a dental professional for regular checkups just because they don't know who we are. Just meeting and talking with the orthodontist you'll be seeing may be enough to make you feel more comfortable about your upcoming appointment.

Dental health is something that affects everyone; healthy teeth and gums contribute to a healthy smile and a lifetime of comfort and well-being. Orthodontists are just one of the various dental practitioners you could visit at some point in your life, so taking a little time to learn who we are and what we do is certain to be a helpful experience. We look forward to seeing you and your family this October at Chawla Orthodonics, Pediatric Dentistry & Oral Surgery in Westmont, IL!