I Need Braces—Will I Need to See a Dentist?

Woman smiling in orthondontic braces

Dental health is an important aspect of everyday life. Regardless of whether or not you need braces, orthodontists will always be advocates for good dental hygiene as well as regular checkups with a dentist.

Healthy gums are an important component of a successful orthodontic treatment and so gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis that could interrupt or hamper treatment should be addressed before any treatment begins.

This is where routine checkups with your dentist become necessary, and in some instances you will need to have some dental issues cleared up prior to orthodontic treatment.

What Each Doctor Does

Dentists deal primarily with general dental issues. Think of them as your dental primary care provider. They diagnose, treat and manage any issues regarding your overall oral care. Beyond routine checkups and cleanings, they can also:

  • Remove/fix teeth
  • Repair cavities
  • Perform root canals
  • Develop and fit crowns, veneers, bridges
  • Whiten teeth

Orthodontists are dental specialists. As part of their extra three years of schooling, they specialize in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial problems. In short, Orthodontists fix bad bites (or malocclusions). Here a few of those malocclusions that your orthodontist is trained to diagnose and correct:

  • Open bite
  • Overjet
  • Crossbite
  • Underbite
  • Overbite
  • Crowding
  • Spacing
  • Unmatched midlines

As part of the job description (fixing bad bites and realigning teeth and jaw structures), orthodontists can help to improve overall oral hygiene by making teeth easier to clean and in some instances—by improving how patients chew—they can help with food digestion, too.

Your orthodontist will recommend that you continue to see your dentist to ensure that you are staying on track with your general dental health.


Dentists will quite frequently refer patients that they feel should receive orthodontic treatment. However, orthodontists generally do not require a referral from a dentist to diagnose and treat a malocclusion. If you feel that you or a family member will need realignment or correction, you can call an orthodontist and schedule an initial consultation. In many instances, the orthodontist will perform it free of charge.

It is still advisable to go and see your dentist before making the consultation though, especially if it has been over a year since your last visit. They could also have a list of orthodontists that they recommend to help with your search.

If you are interested in receiving and friendly and professional consultation, Orthodontic Associates has nine convenient locations around Baltimore to choose from. Our knowledgeable staff will ensure that should you have a malocclusion it is properly diagnosed and that you are aware of the treatment options as well as the cost.

We look forward to making you smile!


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