Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A GENERAL DENTIST AND AN ORTHODONTIST?
General dentists are healthcare providers who manage a patient’s overall oral health. Typical procedures include cleanings, gum disease treatments, fillings, crowns, veneers, bridges, extractions, and preventative education.. They also facilitate referrals to specialists who can address more advanced conditions. For example, a patient with poor tooth alignment or difficulty chewing would often be referred to an orthodontist.
An orthodontist is a licensed dentist who, after finishing dental school, completes an additional 2-3 years of comprehensive training. This specialized training consists of between 4,000 and 6,000 hours of clinical and classroom experience focusing on tooth movement and facial growth and development. As a result, orthodontists are uniquely suited to tackle both straightforward and complex cases.
Orthodontists and general dentists handle different oral health issues, but both are essential in maintaining your family’s optimum dental health.
ARE ALL DOCTORS AT YOUR PRACTICE ORTHODONTISTS?
Yes! Drs. Bankhead, Rodabough, Lenius, and Oldroyd are all orthodontists. They have all completed an additional 2-3 years of comprehensive training in tooth movement and facial growth and development. For this reason, our practice is limited to the field of orthodontics. We like to say we do one thing, and one thing very well – move teeth!
Should a patient require dental care outside the scope of orthodontics, we are happy to provide referrals to some excellent general dentists or other dental specialists.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A GROUP PRACTICE?
There are two types of orthodontic practices that patients can choose from for orthodontic care – group practices (with multiple doctors) or a solo practice (with one doctor). Bankhead Orthodontics is a group practice with four orthodontic specialists.
One of the biggest benefits of Bankhead Orthodontics is that it’s a group practice! Our doctors are able to treat any case that walks through the door because of their combined knowledge and experiences. In a solo practice, treatment options are limited to the knowledge and experience of a single practitioner, thus treatment options may not be considered or discussed if he or she has little or no experience with a certain technique. Each doctor at Bankhead brings their own personality, skills, and experiences to our practice. Parents take comfort in knowing that complex cases are discussed among four orthodontic specialists, insuring that all possible options are discussed and the best plan is selected.
Patient care directly benefits from a group practice setting because it’s advantageous to have another set of eyes assessing how treatment is progressing. At Bankhead, we’re specialists evaluating specialists—it’s a checks-and-balances that safeguards treatment from getting off track. This means treatment is both high quality and extremely efficient – which equates to less office visits, less time missing school and work, and less time in treatment.
Our group practice also uses the most state-of-the-art technology that wouldn’t be available to us were we not a group practice. We have two digital 3D X-ray machines, seven digital intraoral scanners, use wires that are bent by robots, lasers, mini-implants, and are ranked in the Top 1% of Invisalign providers nationwide.
SHOULD I CONTINUE TO SEE MY DENTIST DURING ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT?
Yes! We recommend that all patients visit their family dentist regularly during orthodontic treatment for routine cleanings and dental check-ups. Orthodontic appliances such as braces and aligners create an environment where bacteria can collect and grow. Eventually plaque and tartar could lead to cavities or gum disease if left unchecked. Having your teeth professionally cleaned and checked ensures your teeth and gums are remaining healthy during orthodontic treatment. Even if you’re undergoing clear aligner treatment like Invisalign, dental checkups and cleanings are equally as important.
WILL I NEED TO WEAR RETAINERS FOLLOWING ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT?
YES! Regardless of which treatment option is selected (braces, Invisalign, lingual braces, etc), maintaining your results and protecting your investment requires wearing retainers FULL TIME for 6 months followed by nightly wear INDEFINITELY for as long as you want your teeth to stay straight. Teeth, like every other part of the body, have a tendency to move with age; thus, lifetime retention of your results is necessary.
Think about going to the gym. You can spend years getting in great shape, but what happens if you stop working out – your body “relapses”, or starts “going back” to where it came from. It is the same with teeth – without proper maintenance (consistent retainer wear), teeth will want to “relapse” and become crooked again.