Moving teeth around takes precision, passion — and special training.

(Issued Summer 2017)  — Dentists fix cavities. Orthodontists straighten teeth. That’s how most people view these groups of highly-trained professionals, but there’s a lot more.

While dentists specialize in teeth and gum issues — tooth decay, gum disease, tartar – and encouraging good oral hygiene along with biannual cleanings, Orthodontists specialize in helping teeth and jaws to work in union so you can speak, bite and chew comfortably and effectively. About 30% of today’s Orthodontic patients are adults, partly because new technology and techniques can be imperceptible and shorten treatment time.

Dr. Andrew Chase of ARCH Orthodontics says, “Orthodontists – who spend 2 – 3 additional years after dental school to specialize — are most qualified to resolve malocclusions, (undesirable positioning of upper and lower teeth). That’s the foundation of our specialty. We devote nearly 100% of our time to Orthodontics and required continuing education. This includes a focus on growth, development, tooth movement, and bite issues.  While general dentists are also required to take continuing education, they typically focus on their most common procedures such as advanced restorative work rather than Orthodontic topics.”

Orthodontists assess alignment issues, take scans and measurements, and fit patients with the most appropriate type of braces. They may recommend treatment beyond braces – such as new technologies that can shorten braces time using dentofacial orthopedics in conjunction with braces or Invisalign.  Another new advancement in Orthodontics is AcceleDent, an FDA approved medical device which uses micropulses to stimulate bone changes and can cut treatment time by up to 50%, while making the patient significantly more comfortable throughout the process.  For a patient with sleep apnea, an Orthodontist might prescribe a dental orthotic appliance in place of a CPAP. For a patient with jaw or neck pain who may have a TMJ / TMD disorder, a TMJ splint may be used with Orthodontics to permanently resolve the problem.

Dr. Chase, in practice since 1998, says dental school graduates take just one semester of basic Orthodontic theory: “Most non-Orthodontists doing braces or Invisalign have only taken seminars on the topics and rely on lab technicians to guide them. Orthodontists study extensive records to evaluate each patient’s case prior to starting. Most non-Orthodontists don’t have the appropriate x-ray machine to gather critical information that Orthodontics requires and is considered the standard of care.” Dentists often refer patients to Orthodontists for teeth alignment or bite issues.

“The growing number of adult Orthodontic patients demonstrates increased understanding that a healthy, beautiful smile can lead to social and professional success as well as oral health,” says Dr. Chase. “Orthodontics imparts life-long benefits and boosts confidence. Studies have shown that a healthy smile can result in better career advancement that can translate in up to $1.5 million in additional lifetime income.”

Dr. Chase, Immediate Past-President of the Mass. Association of Orthodontists, says, “We’re constantly researching the industry to find better methods and new approaches. I urge anyone who wants a dramatically new smile to make an appointment today at one of our 9 offices – Call (781) 209-6776.”ARCH, the Official Orthodontist of Miss Massachusetts, offers free initial consultation and interest-free financing. ARCH has 9 offices between Boston and Cape Cod.                                                      

–  By Stanley Hurwitz /   (508) 269-0570  /