Why Should I Choose an Orthodontist?
This is not a side business for us, it is what we do all day, every day. With advanced specialty training and thousands of hours of experience, an orthodontist is the right choice to address your orthodontic needs.
Malcom Gladwell’s 10,000 hours
New-York Time’s best-selling author Malcom Gladwell suggests in his book Outliers(1) that it requires approximately 10,000 hours to master any skill. Assuming for a moment that this is accurate, it would take a primary care dentist approximately 5 years of doing orthodontics every working day, the entire working day (assuming 50 full weeks of work per year, with 5 days of work per week, at 8 hours per day), to reach 10,000 hours. And, they would reach 10,000 hours without the essential foundation of fundamentals learned in a specialty residency program—much of these 10,000 hours would be experimentation and trial and error. But, let’s get back to reality—busy primary care dentists who offer orthodontic services do not practice orthodontics every working day, the entire working day. They may dabble in orthodontics, while the majority of their days will be filled with the things that they are masters in (drilling cavities, doing fillings, cementing crowns, etc)—this is their bread and butter. For simplicity, let’s say they spend 1 hour/day doing orthodontics (a very generous assumption, I might add—if a non-orthodontist is doing 1 hour of orthodontic work per day, he or she will likely say they do “a lot” of orthodontics). Assuming 50 full weeks of work per year, with 5 days of work per week, at 1 hour per day, it would take 40 years to master orthodontics! Considering that most dentists work less than 50 weeks per year, and fewer than 5 days per week, 40 years is probably an underestimate!
Likewise, for your general dental health, the smart choice is to see a primary care dentist, because he or she is an expert in diagnosing and treating general dental problems. This is what they do all day, every day. Although orthodontists are also dentists and are trained and licensed to do general dental work like filling cavities, etc., you wouldn’t want to see an orthodontist to fill your cavity because you will receive better and more efficient care from an expert—the primary care dentist—who does dental work like fillings on a daily basis and has mastery of 10,000+ hours.
This is why an orthodontist is the only smart choice for your orthodontic care: because their 10,000+ hours were are built on the bedrock of formal specialty training in a university setting, which makes them infinitely stronger than 10,000 hours of dabbling. If you are going to build a house, you had better start with a strong foundation—this is Engineering 101.
So, take good care of yourself: for your general dental needs, see a primary care dentist; but, for your orthodontic treatment, see an orthodontic specialist. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.