March 7th, 2014
Orthodontists and dentists both help patients improve their oral health, but in different ways. Dentistry is a broad medical specialty that deals with the teeth, gum, nerves, and jaw, while orthodontics is a specialty within dentistry that focuses on correcting bites, occlusion, and the straightness of teeth. One important difference is that all orthodontists like Dr. Scott Smith are dentists, but not all dentists are licensed orthodontists.
How are they similar?
The main similarity between a dentist and orthodontist is that they both focus on oral care. An orthodontist can work in a dental office and provide the same care as a dentist. So in this respect, they are quite similar. They are both considered doctors, and deal with the teeth and gums.
How are they different?
There are more differences than similarities. An orthodontist requires additional schooling as a dental specialty; the situation is similar to a doctor who obtains additional schooling to become a surgeon. Another difference is that orthodontists specialize in helping patients with the alignment of their teeth, improving their bite, or fitting them for corrective braces and devices. If a patient has an overbite, a dentist will refer him or her to an orthodontist.
Dentists typically encourage good oral hygiene and provide services related to:
- Tooth decay
- Root canals
- Gum disease
- Teeth whitening
Orthodontists are dentists that specialize in the alignment of teeth, and provide services related to:
- Misaligned teeth
- Crowded teeth
What an orthodontist can help with
Orthodontists help with crooked teeth, but they assist patients with other issues as well. These include overbites and underbites, crossbites, spaces between teeth, overcrowding of teeth, and the treatment of temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Additional problems with the jaw also need to be treated by an orthodontist.
While a dentist may be trained to provide orthodontic care in addition to extractions, TMJ treatments, and fillings, trusting your smile to an orthodontist can better balance the different procedures you require.
To learn more about the difference between dentists and orthodontists, or to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Scott Smith, please give our team at R. Scott Smith Orthodontics a call at our convenient Springfield, MA office.
February 28th, 2014
Our patients at R. Scott Smith Orthodontics hate the thought of delaying their treatments and often ask us what they can do in between their adjustment visits to help. Today, Dr. Scott Smith and our team thought we would provide some tips on how you can stay on track in regards to your treatment plan time.
The first thing we want you to do is keep your adjustment appointments. Each visit with Dr. Scott Smith is carefully planned to move your teeth a specific way in a certain time frame. It’s important to note that missing an appointment can add weeks or months to your treatment time.
Next, we want you to let Dr. Scott Smith and our team know right away if your experience any problems with your braces or appliances. A missing wire, rubber band, or broken bracket can delay treatment time, so we ask that you please give us a call right away to report any issues rather than waiting until your next visit.
Make sure you wear your rubber bands as prescribed by Dr. Scott Smith. Most, if not all, of our patients will need to wear elastics or rubber bands at some point during their treatment. Not wearing the bands or elastics, or not wearing them enough, can slow down your treatment time. Rubber bands are critical in aligning your bite and are important for the bite-fixing phase of your treatment.
Finally, we want you to maintain good oral hygiene, just as you did before your treatment began. In addition to flossing regularly, we encourage you to brush your teeth several times a day. Not brushing will allow sugar to wear away the cement on the braces, making them less effective in moving your teeth, as well as elevate your risk of developing cavities or tooth decay, which will inevitably delay treatment time.
If you have any questions about any of these tips, or if you have any general questions about your treatment, please give us a call at our convenient Springfield, MA office, or ask Dr. Scott Smith during your next adjustment visit!
February 21st, 2014
The purpose of braces and other forms of orthodontic treatment at R. Scott Smith Orthodontics is to correct malocclusion, also known as crooked or crowded teeth, or “bad bites.” Past orthodontic practice dictated that wisdom teeth be removed, especially in cases of crowding.
The wisdom teeth are the last teeth to come in, and are officially known as the third molars. The teeth typically erupt, or break the surface of the skin, in young people between the ages of 13 and 20.
Sometimes, wisdom teeth are impacted. That means they cannot break through the gum tissue. This typically happens when the mouth or jaw is too small to accommodate the teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth can become infected, and some dentists and orthodontists may want to remove them as prophylaxis to prevent possible future infection.
Justification for removing wisdom teeth
Dr. Scott Smith will tell you that in some cases, wisdom teeth attempt to come in the wrong way, either tilting in the jaw, or sideways. If the mouth is too small to accommodate these additional teeth, they inevitably become impacted. Swelling or infection of the gum flap above an impacted wisdom tooth may cause pain. The greatest danger is pericoronitis, a potentially dangerous infection that can occur in the gum area around an impacted wisdom tooth, or around a wisdom tooth that has erupted.
Orthodontists base their decision to remove wisdom teeth on each patient’s individual circumstances. To learn more about the impact wisdom teeth have on orthodontic treatment, or to schedule a visit with Dr. Scott Smith, please give us a call at our convenient Springfield, MA office!
February 14th, 2014
Valentine’s Day is best known as a celebration of love in all its forms. Pink hearts, red roses, and cute greeting cards adorn every surface you see. What many people don’t realize is that the modern Valentine’s Day celebration arose from a religious holiday.
St. Valentine’s Day was originally celebrated as a religious feast day in honor of early Christian martyrs. Three martyrs named Valentine were honored: a priest in Rome, the persecuted bishop of Interamna (a town in central Italy), and a saint martyred in Africa. This saint’s day was celebrated throughout Christendom, although it was removed from the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints in 1969.
The origin of Valentine’s Day as a holiday for lovers began with Geoffrey Chaucer in his 1382 poem “Parlement of Foules.” Chaucer wrote, “For this was on Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate,” and the modern romantic holiday was born. William Shakespeare and other writers mentioned Valentine’s Day as a day of love.
Valentine’s Day as we know it came about in the early 19th century. In Victorian England, printers began manufacturing small numbers of cards with romantic verses, lace, ribbons, and other frills. Anonymous Valentine’s Day card were a popular way for young lovers to exchange romantic sentiments in an otherwise prudish time. As the 19th century progressed, printers began mass manufacturing Valentine’s Day cards. People in the United States give an estimated 190 million valentines every year, and up to one billion if you count children exchanging cards at school! With the rise of the Internet, Valentine’s Day e-cards have become a popular mode of communication, with millions of e-cards sent each year.
The other items associated with Valentine’s Day include chocolate and flowers. The tradition of giving chocolates has been around for decades, and Richard Cadbury created the first box of Valentine’s Day chocolates nearly 150 years ago. Today, purchases of chocolate total over $1 billion in the United States alone, with 35 million heart-shaped boxes sold each year. Loved ones also exchange flowers, with red roses being associated with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. On Valentine’s Day itself, florists sell nearly 200 stems of roses.
Although many people dismiss Valentine’s Day as a commercialized “Hallmark holiday,” it is beloved to couples and romantics across the United States and other countries. The team at R. Scott Smith Orthodontics wants to remind all patients that no matter what your celebratory plans, February 14th can be a wonderful day to celebrate the loved ones in your life. Happy Valentine’s Day!