It seems like everyone has an opinion in the dentist vs. orthodontist debate, and most articles online only share the positives for their side. So who is right? What’s the real difference between dentists vs. orthodontists? And if you want Invisalign treatment, how can you be confident you’ve made the best choice?
The truth is, the answer really depends on factors besides the title of your doctor – ‘dentist’ or ‘orthodontist’.
Many places online give you only the part of the story that benefits their goals. It’s made it complicated and confusing to get a clear picture of what’s best for your smile, but it doesn’t have to be. We believe that everyone deserves a smile they love, so we’re here to make this really simple. We’ll give you the perspective from both sides.
When you’re done, you’ll have straight answers to the dentist vs. orthodontist debate, and confidence about your Invisalign decision.
So what really matters when it comes to choosing a dentist vs. orthodontist for Invisalign? And when should you choose a dentist over an orthodontist for Invisalign? Keep reading for all that and more – including one significant factor that most articles online overlook completely.
What Doesn’t Matter?
Before we get to what does matter, it will be helpful to get some of the factors out of the way that don’t matter as much as it’s often suggested they do.
If you’ve done any research already on dentist vs. orthodontist, you’ve probably stumbled across some version of what is likely the most common answer to the question online:
While general dentists can offer Invisalign treatment, they are not specialists. Orthodontists, however, are experts in tooth movement. Orthodontists complete additional schooling (usually 3 years) after graduating dental school that also gives them the edge over general dentists.
This answer is very similar to what you can find in popular articles online, and it can be very misleading for you, and may even cause you to pay more for worse treatment. Let’s break this down so you can avoid making a shaky decision for your smile.
First, you’ll often notice in online articles that they very specifically refer to general dentists.
While many dentists choose to practice general dentistry, that is not exclusively true of all dentists. Some dentists are just as specialized as orthodontists at large, and in some cases, even more so.
When you see articles that refer only to general dentists or speak about dentists as if they are not able to be specialized experts, take it with a grain of salt. Don’t take our word for it – as a dental practice that’s been delivering our patients great Invisalign smiles for over 20 years, we’ll let our very happy patients speak for themselves.
Experts in Tooth Movement
Who can be an expert in tooth movement? Many articles incorrectly suggest strongly that only orthodontists can be experts in tooth movement. Wrong.
Some types of orthodontic treatment – like Invisalign – are expertly provided by both dentists and orthodontists alike. In these cases, like with Invisalign, dentists can be as much – or even more – of a tooth movement expert as orthodontists.
The amount of experience and level of expertise matters much more to the quality of your treatment than whether your Invisalign doctor is a dentist or orthodontist.
Extra school is required to become a practicing orthodontist. Many orthodontists promote this heavily as a benefit of choosing them instead of a dentist, and rightfully so. Often, orthodontists can be a better choice for Invisalign than many general dentists, and schooling is a part of why.
Here’s the thing – many dentists commit to just as much ongoing education, training, and studying of new technology in the field as orthodontists. They don’t pay for the schooling and degree, but they commit to becoming just as much experts in certain orthodontics as an orthodontist.
When it comes to Invisalign, there are some very good reasons why you ought to choose a dentist vs. orthodontist for your treatment. Here they are.
Why You’d Choose a Dentist vs. Orthodontist for Invisalign
1 – Amount of Experience
As we’ve already alluded to, one factor for why you’d prefer a dentist over an orthodontist is the amount of experience they have. Now, what the doctor has experience in matters a whole lot too, and we’ll get to that in a minute.
Amount of experience is a useful first signal to look for in part because it’s so easy to find out. For instance, we proudly share on our website that we have over 32+ years of experience in dentistry at Dr. Peter Brawn and 20+ years of delivering our patients great smiles with Invisalign.
Continuing with that example, 20+ years is a long, long time. That’s a whole lot of great smiles out there and a whole lot of experience that would be hard to come by even with 3 extra years of schooling. That’s why you have to look more closely when comparing dentists to orthodontists.
Yes, the additional schooling may give an orthodontist a head start, but many dentists may have far more experience with achieving great Invisalign results than an orthodontist.
That said, there are a lot of orthodontists out there who have many years of experience, too. Amount of experience is just one signal to look for. Let’s look at more.
2 – Range of Experience
Range of experience means this: the variety of experience a dentist or orthodontist has.
This is one factor that most articles online completely overlook the merits of. And if you do, you’re missing out on potentially significant value for your smile.
Generally, a good range of experience applies much more often to dentists than it does to orthodontists. Orthodontists will often proudly tell you themselves that they are ‘specialists’.
Range of experience in your doctor has great benefits for you. The best dentists can have a very wide range of experience that they bring to your treatment.
For instance, in addition to Invisalign treatment, Dr. Brawn has extensive experience with cosmetic dentistry, restorative dentistry, and implant dentistry. Each of these areas of dentistry has its own focuses, specialized skills, and types of cases.
A dentist, like Dr. Brawn, who has become an expert in each of these brings all that wide range of knowledge and expertise to your treatment. It gives him the ability to see your “whole” smile.
That’s quite a benefit. Especially when you combine it with the next factor.
3 – Level of Expertise
Another way of saying this is specialization.
As many orthodontists will tell you – and they are right – specialization matters. After all, you only get one smile. So if you’re going to trust your smile to someone else, they better be a specialist in getting you a great smile!
Yes, you want a professional. But even more than that, you want an expert professional.
We agree. An expert professional is exactly what you ought to get when you choose a dentist or orthodontist for Invisalign. And that’s why we’ve included factor #3. It’s the final test.
Amount of experience and range of experience are great things, but if the doctor doesn’t have an extremely high level of expertise, proceed with caution. On the other hand, if you find a doctor who is an expert at Invisalign and also has a significant range of expertise and amount of experience, it might be just the doctor you’re looking for.
You still need to feel comfortable and confident with the doctor, so we would never recommend that you proceed blindly, but it might be time to get a consultation.
Here’s a pro tip: it’s very, very rare to find a doctor who has both a wide range of experience and a high level of expertise. If you find one, it’s a strong signal that you’ve found yourself a high-quality doctor.
It hardly matters whether they’re a dentist or orthodontist – they have the real-life experience, results, and expertise to get you the great smile you deserve.
Finding a dentist who has all three of these is why you might want to choose a dentist vs. orthodontist for Invisalign.
And it just so happens that you’re in luck! Because we know just the dentist…
Invisalign in Half the Time
Dr. Peter Brawn has been delivering patients all over Vancouver, North Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, and beyond great smiles with Invisalign for over 20 years (amount of experience – check!).
With a dental background, he practiced extensively in the areas of cosmetic, restorative, and implant dentistry, just to name a few (range of experience – check!).
Now, Dr. Peter Brawn is the first and only Invisalign studio in all of Canada that focuses exclusively on accelerated Invisalign treatment. For the better part of a decade, accelerated Invisalign has been the only thing we do (Level of expertise – check!).
What is accelerated Invisalign treatment?
Average orthodontic treatment – with braces or standard Invisalign – takes about 20-24 months. Recent studies in the U.S. have reported average treatment length is getting even longer than that. Meanwhile, studies also show that patients lose motivation around 12 months into treatment.
Average treatment is taking way too long. You deserve better.
That’s why we created accelerated Invisalign treatment. At Dr. Peter Brawn, most of our patients finish Invisalign treatment in about 12 months. When most patients are halfway done with treatment or less, and they are losing motivation, most of our patients are finishing treatment or well on their way.
Our patients have finished faster so reliably that we call it Invisalign in Half the Time ™.
If you care about great results and want to avoid waiting years for a smile you love, we made accelerated Invisalign for you.
We believe that everyone deserves a smile they love so we work to make getting your great smile as accessible as possible. That’s why we’ve made consultations with Dr. Brawn completely free. Sign up and get your free consultation for Invisalign in Half the Time ™ today.