Q. What is the difference between a general dentist and an orthodontist?
A. A general dentist performs procedures such as filling cavities, teeth cleaning, and teeth whitening. An orthodontist is a dental specialist who helps correct problems with a person’s bite and helps straighten crooked teeth or misaligned jaws. An orthodontist goes through four years of dental school and then attends a two- or three-year residency program focusing exclusively on orthodontics. Because orthodontists have specialized training, I think we can treat complex cases much better. After all, orthodontics is what we do all day, every day. From a time standpoint, treatment will typically be completed sooner with an orthodontist versus a general dentist.
Q. What is the advantage of having orthodontic treatment?
A. It helps you maintain healthier teeth. When you have straight teeth, it allows you to have a healthier bite and keeps your teeth from being worn. Also, orthodontic treatment helps prevent getting cracks or damage on your teeth. When your bottom teeth are crowded, that’s when you experience the build-up of tartar. Straight teeth lessen the chances of getting tartar build-up, which prevents bone loss and gingivitis.
I also treat sleep apnea, a condition where people stop breathing in their sleep. The treatment is done in conjunction with an oral surgeon. I put braces on patients to align the teeth, and the oral surgeon uses braces to stabilize the jaw during surgery. The surgeon performs a maxillary mandibular advancement, a procedure that expands the palate and arch, creating a permanent airway solution.
Q. I need my teeth straightened but don’t want metal braces. Is there an alternative?
A. I use a product called Invisalign, which is a clear plastic aligner that is comfortable, removable, and nearly invisible with no metal braces or wires to cause mouth abrasions. It can be used to treat almost anyone who desires straighter teeth. Patients wear a set of aligners for two weeks, removing them only to eat, drink, brush, and floss. As a patient replaces each aligner with the next in the series, his/her teeth will move until they have straightened to the final position.
Q. What makes you passionate about your job?
A. Being able to give patients a confident smile that has a positive effect on their personality is very rewarding.
352.751.3534 / 11962 County Road 101, Ste. 204, The Villages / BetancurOrtho.com