Call for a Free Consultation: (480) 757-0000

Orthodontist: What They Do & How They Can Help You

At QuickSmiles, we believe straightening teeth should always be done under the care of a local orthodontist.

Start your orthodontic treatment with QuickSmiles
Free Smile Consultation

What is an Orthodontist?

An orthodontist practices a specialty form of dentistry that covers the process of diagnosing, preventing, and correcting malpositioned teeth, jaws, and misaligned bite patterns.

Orthodontists can specialize in many forms of orthodontics including traditional braces, clear aligners, ceramic braces, self-ligating braces, retainers, and others.

At QuickSmiles, we believe straightening teeth should always be done under the care of a local orthodontist. Going to a dentist for orthodontic treatment is not the best way to ensure a desirable smile transformation.

What does orthodontist mean?

The first recorded use of the word “orthodontia” was by a dentist named Joachim Lafoulon back in the year 1841. It stems from the Greek word “orthos”, which means straight or correct and was paired with the Greek word “odon”, which means tooth.

An orthodontist practices orthodontia as a dentist who is specially trained to treat issues with crooked teeth, misaligned jaws, and other malocclusions. They help people to get the smile they want using various techniques and practices.

How to Become an Orthodontist

The process of becoming an orthodontist is similar to becoming a doctor but with a focus on oral health instead. To be become an orthodontist, an individual must do the following:

  • Get their Undergraduate Degree: The focus must be on math and science but more specifically in chemistry and biology. Most orthodontists will get a Bachelor of Science degree in either one of those two areas.
  • Apply to Dental School: To apply for the next step, they must pass the dental admission test. Upon passing, they can then apply to a dental school program.
  • Finish Dental School: In this stage, most individuals will decide the specialty they want to be in. It will play a key role in the next step as they progress toward becoming a licensed orthodontist.
  • Residency: Similar to a doctor, orthodontists must go through a residency program to get on-the-job training and experience.
  • National Board Dental Examination: The Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE) administers this test, which is required to become a dentist or orthodontist.
  • Register for License: All orthodontists must be licensed to practice in any state across the U.S.

How long does it take to become an orthodontist?

Without any breaks, the process of becoming a licensed orthodontist takes between 10-11 years. This includes a four-year undergraduate degree, four years at an accredited dental school, as well as two to three years as an orthodontics resident.

What Does an Orthodontist Do?

Using traditional braces, clear aligners, retainers, and other practices, orthodontists help people correct crooked teeth and bite issues. They focus on general oral health but specialize in ensuring teeth are straight and that jaws line up correctly.

Orthodontists generally follow a clear plan of action to diagnose, analyze, and treat smiles that need to be fixed or straightened. This can be done using metal braces, ceramic braces, and clear aligners like Invisalign.

Do Orthodontists Pull Teeth?

Orthodontists have all the same education and training as regular dentists but they usually don’t pull teeth. Instead, they focus on straightening crooked teeth and repairing bite problems using braces or clear aligner options.

Do Orthodontists Fill Cavities?

As with other dental procedures, an orthodontist knows how to fill cavities but usually leaves it to dentists. They work hand in hand with dentists during orthodontic treatments to ensure teeth are clean and healthy while also straightening them.

Does an Orthodontist Do Implants or Dentures?

No. Because they are part of what is known as restorative dentistry, orthodontists do not handle implants or dentures. Dentists are usually the ones who handle dentures, implants, bridges, inlays, onlays, and beyond.

Orthodontists specialize in straightening teeth and assisting people with getting a proper bite. They help to align jaws and take care of other cases within the field of orthodontia.

What Types of Cases Can an Orthodontist Treat?

Orthodontists are constantly finding ways to help people get the smiles they are looking for.

There are very few oral health cases that can’t be treated using orthodontics. With ongoing advancements and new dental technology coming out nearly every year, almost any orthodontic case can be treated without the need for surgery.

You have many treatment options to choose from such as traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces, and Invisalign clear aligners.

At QuickSmiles, we specialize in Invisalign and can handle over 95% of cases including:

  • Gaps
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Crossbite
  • Open Bite
  • Midline
  • Crowded Teeth
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
  • Bucked teeth
  • Baby and Permanent Teeth

Why Choose an Orthodontist Over a Dentist?

There are some dentists who offer orthodontics as part of their services. So, why should you go with an orthodontist vs a dentist?

Orthodontists have more experience and focus solely on situations related to misaligned teeth, jawline problems, and other orthodontics concerns. They specialize in these treatments and help people with them every day. Orthodontists also have gone through an additional two or three years of education to learn all the right techniques required to do orthodontics correctly.

When you work with a licensed and specialized orthodontist, you’ll have additional treatment options including traditional braces, Invisalign, ceramic braces, and more.

In the end, you can save a tremendous amount of money working with an orthodontist vs a dentist. Mistakes can be costly and even lead to new problems you didn’t have before starting your treatment.

That’s why every treatment at QuickSmiles is under the care of a local orthodontist.

What’s the Difference Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist?

Although both dentists and orthodontists are educated in providing oral health, they provide highly different services based on varying needs.

Dentists are broadly trained as medical practitioners in the general health of teeth, gums, jaws, and nerves in your mouth. They typically take care of routine cleanings, cavities, implants, dentures, and other dental procedures.

Orthodontists have additional schooling and specialize in correcting teeth irregularities, bite issues, and other practices to provide patients with a straight smile.

Many dentists offer Invisalign services but it is highly recommended to do Invisalign treatments with an orthodontist.

What is an Invisalign Orthodontist?

While traditional metal braces have long been a go-to option for orthodontists, more and more professionals are turning to Invisalign clear aligners as an alternative for their patients.

Invisalign orthodontists specialize in correcting teeth misalignments and bite issues using clear aligners that are nearly invisible. This option is becoming more popular as adults and teens search for more convenient ways to get the smile they want. Orthodontists who use Invisalign don’t use wires or metal brackets, making people much more comfortable with no need to be self-conscious during their treatment.

Are Orthodontists Doctors?

Yes! Having completed specialized training and education, orthodontists are doctors of oral health. They attend medical programs with a focus on dentistry and then go through two or three additional years of specific education in orthodontics. Orthodontists even go through a residency program like other doctors attend while at hospitals.

Are Orthodontists Dentists?

Yes! Before becoming an orthodontist, individuals must complete a dental program at an accredited school. They go through the same education requirements as dentists and are trained to do all the same procedures. Orthodontists then go through an additional two or three years of specialized education on top of their dental training.

Do I Need a Board-Certified Orthodontist?

An orthodontist that is board certified offers the distinction of advanced training and certified training by the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO). These orthodontists offer the benefit of being ranked among the top of their field across the United States. They have had extensive training go through continuing education on the best practices and new technology in the industry.

At QuickSmiles, our orthodontists are all Board Certified Orthodontists.

What is a board-certified orthodontist?

Before becoming board certified, an orthodontist must first complete an accredited graduate program in orthodontics. One their education is complete and they are fully licensed, orthodontists can then begin the process to become certified by the ABO.

To be a board-certified orthodontist, they’ll go through the certification process which involves a written exam and an oral clinical exam. Their certification must be renewed every year as they go through regular education programs to stay up-to-date.

These certifications are developed by top orthodontists and are frequently validated through regular examinations.

Can You Switch Orthodontists?

It is possible to switch orthodontists but you’ll want to be aware of the potential risks and downsides that come with changing.

Even if they use the same types of treatments, all orthodontists are different and may treat their patients in varying ways. If you have traditional braces, your orthodontist may use wire and brackets that are different from another professional. If you started treatment with clear aligners, a different orthodontist may use another type of material or follow a unique treatment plan that your current one.

Some orthodontists may choose to repair a bite issue first and then straighten your teeth. Another orthodontist may decide to handle your treatment in the opposite way.

Switching orthodontists may have risks but it can also have its benefits. If you’re not happy with your current treatment plan, getting a free consultation from another orthodontist is a great way to determine your options and whether it’s a good idea.

It is possible you could end up paying a new orthodontist less for your treatment by switching from traditional braces to clear aligners. But they will need to review what has been done so far to identify the next steps and what your revised treatment plan would look like.

If you’re considering switching your orthodontist, come in to QuickSmiles for a FREE Smile Consultation. We’ll help you decide your options and the best path forward.

What Happens at an Orthodontist Appointment?

While all orthodontists are different, many of their appointments follow a similar process as part of your treatment. The following is how orthodontists at QuickSmiles provide you a positive experience from beginning to end:

  1. Initial Consultation: At your first appointment, you’ll get a FREE Smile Consultation that captures a 3D image of your teeth. You’ll get an up close look at the process and see exactly how your smile journey will go. Depending on your needs, additional steps may be taken to get x-rays, discuss insurance, payment plans, and our current Invisalign deals.
  2. Get Your First Trays: Invisalign clear aligner trays typically take between 2-3 weeks to be made. Once they’re completed, you’ll return to our office and make sure they fit properly. One of our team members will go over the correct way to care for your clear aligners and the other factors involved in your treatment plan.
  3. Virtual Checkups: One of the greatest benefits of working with QuickSmiles is the limited number of office visits during your treatment. Instead, we will reach out to you every 10 weeks to follow-up via a virtual checkup using only your mobile device. You’ll send a few specific photos, which our board-certified orthodontists will use to ensure the process is going smoothly.
  4. New 3D Smile Scan: Before your treatment is complete, we’ll do another 3D smile scan to confirm everything has gone as planned. Whenever additional clear aligners are needed, we will order you these sets at no extra charge. Once you’re in the final stages, retainers will be made to wear after the treatment is done.
  5. Smile!: In as little as six to 12 months, you’ll have the smile you’ve always wanted.

How to Find an Orthodontist?

There are a handful of ways you can find a trustworthy orthodontist who can provide you with top-rated services. Among the most popular steps you can take is to speak with your dentist, family members, and friends to ask for referrals. If they had a positive experience, they may be able to send you in the direction of an orthodontist who can do the same for you.

You can also conduct your own research to find orthodontists near you that have a strong reputation. Look up online orthodontist reviews on Google to see what companies have received positive feedback from their patients. If you want the best experience, always make sure they are board-certified by the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO).

Before making the final decision, you should determine the types of orthodontic services each orthodontist provides such as Invisalign, traditional braces, or other options. This will be a key factor in the process and timeframe you can expect during your treatment.

Find the Best Orthodontist In Your Area

Anyone looking for the top orthodontists will love teaming up with the professionals at QuickSmiles.

Here are the QuickSmiles locations offering access to our top-rated orthodontists:

● Gilbert, AZ
● Chandler, AZ
● Queen Creek, AZ
● Mesa, AZ
● Phoenix, AZ
● Scottsdale, AZ
● Tempe, AZ

Who is the Orthodontist at QuickSmiles?

QuickSmiles has more than one orthodontist on our team but the chief orthodontist and co-founder of QuickSmiles is Dr. Stephen D. Hunsaker. He is certified by the American Board of Orthodontics and is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists and the American Dental Association.

Dr. Hunsaker earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University in Provo, UT. He attended dental school at the University of Maryland where he maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA and graduated at the top of his class with Summa Cum Laude honors.

Start Your Orthodontic Treatment with QuickSmiles

If you are considering orthodontic treatment, make sure you take a look at QuickSmiles! All treatment is under the care of an expert Invisalign Orthodontist. We provide a FREE Smile Consultation, giving you a clear picture of what your smile journey looks like from beginning to end.

Find the QuickSmiles office nearest you and get started with the best Invisalign orthodontics treatment available in the nation! Give us a call today at (480) 757-0000 if you’d like to learn more about how we can help you get the smile you’ll love!

Memberships & Accreditations We are Certified

american board of orthodontists logo
american association of orthodontists logo
diamond invisalign provider logo

Start Your Best Smile Here

Schedule your Free Smile Consultation today! Book Now1-480-757-0000