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Dentist Vs. Orthodontist For Braces

June 22nd, 2018

Many of us are creatures of comfort and do not like to branch out into something completely new and unknown. It is a big deal when you find a dentist you like and feel comfortable with! If you have been thinking about braces treatment for yourself or your child, you may be wondering if this is something that has to be done by an orthodontist, or if it is something your regular dentist can handle in his or her office.

Although there are a number of similarities between the two, they are not actually interchangeable. There are some significant differences that set orthodontists apart from dentists, and when you are contemplating orthodontic treatment like braces, it is important to understand what those differences are. In learning what orthodontists like Dr. Bennett have to offer that other dentists do not, you will be able to make an informed decision about which option is best for you and your family.

Continuing education, further training, a specific set of skills

Orthodontists and dentists both get their start in dental school. However, after graduation, orthodontists will set out on a different path, one that includes extra years of specialized training in the alignment of the teeth and jaws. Because orthodontic residency programs are extremely competitive, only the top students in any dental school graduating class will be accepted to continue toward a specialty in orthodontics. This program includes two to three years of full-time training that concentrates on orthodontic issues and how to correct them with orthodontic appliances like braces. This residency must be successfully completed before a dentist is able to claim the title of a licensed orthodontist. Orthodontists are essentially dentists who have years of specialized, additional training in orthodontics behind them. There are exceptions to every rule, but in general, most dentists will not have this same level of rigorous orthodontic training and experience. So, are dentists qualified to straighten teeth using braces or other orthodontic appliances?

stack of books

Yes, some dentists are qualified to provide basic orthodontic care. But...

Because all dentists receive some basic orthodontic training in school, there are some general dentists qualified to provide orthodontic care to their patients. These dentists will often take continuing education seminars and acquire extra orthodontic experience through workshops.  But since workshops and seminars have no way to go over such extensive and specific material in depth, it is a bit of an imperfect system.

If your dentist does offer orthodontic care, it is only natural that you would consider using them for braces. But before you choose to move forward with treatment, consider that an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Bennett will be able to:

  • provide a wide variety of treatment options, from traditional metal and ceramic braces to clear aligner systems like Invisalign, and more
  • create a customized treatment plan based around the unique needs, anatomical characteristics, and desired results for you or your child
  • offer more efficient treatments and visits, since orthodontics is the only focus
  • deliver the best possible outcome, particularly for cases that are more complicated or severe

At Bennett Orthodontics, providing the utmost in orthodontic care and treatment is our only specialty! We put a tremendous amount of time and energy into perfecting our techniques and creating a safe, comfortable environment for our patients. We use leading-edge techniques and state-of-the-art technology to perform teeth straightening procedures daily, and our entire team is committed to providing only the very best in individualized orthodontic care.

Specialized treatment for beautiful straight smiles that last a lifetime

Have you ever heard the saying, “just because it can be done, does not mean it should be done?” While it is always up to you as the patient to choose your care provider, there is something to be said for a doctor with the most specialized education, training, and experience when it comes to something as important as your smile. Having a general dentist perform specialized orthodontic work is a little bit like a general physician performing open heart surgery - is it possible? Sure! Is it something you want to take a chance on? Maybe not.

An orthodontist like Dr. Bennett puts emphasis on the most optimal treatment approaches, those that will help us avoid any unnecessary complications. With the training and experience to notice some of the smaller things a general dentist might overlook, orthodontists are able to recommend treatment plans that are time and cost-effective, and will also reduce the chance of any complications developing. Bennett Orthodontics has everything you need for the best orthodontic experience, with customized, long-term care plans to see you through the treatment process, from braces and beyond!

girl with braces holding heart

Bennett Orthodontics offers the best braces experience in Mobile

Our sole specialty at Bennett Orthodontics is orthodontics. Dr. Bennett and the rest of our skilled staff have the kind of expertise and experience necessary to give you nothing the best quality, cost, and efficiency in braces treatment. Choosing to receive orthodontic care is a big decision, and we know that it can often be a step outside your comfort zone. Our team will go above and beyond to make sure you feel comfortable and relaxed from the moment you walk in our door. We want your orthodontic process to be as rewarding as possible! 

If you are in Mobile or the surrounding area and would you like to see this kind of excellent care in action, why not schedule a consultation with us? After a comprehensive examination, we would love to outline a personalized treatment plan for you and explore all the ways braces can benefit your smile. Even if you decide not to get braces, we are happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you might have in order to make an informed decision. If you are ready to take the first steps towards a beautifully aligned and fully functional smile, get in touch with us today!


May 29th, 2018

Most of us text more than we talk these days, and with many businesses offering appointment reminders, donation prompts, and calls to action delivered right to your phone, it is become an even more convenient tool for staying connected. Now Bennett Orthodontics is making oral care a whole lot more accessible by offering Rhinogram, a text-based technology that allows our office to provide virtual orthodontic consultations! Imagine the ease of consulting with an orthodontist without having to take time off work, or even leave your home, and second opinions are a cinch when all you have to do is text with one of our orthodontic specialists. Let us take a closer look at what exactly Rhinogram is, and how you can benefit from this innovative tool.

What is Rhinogram?

Rhinogram is a tech-savvy communication tool that connects you with our orthodontic practice when you need trustworthy care delivered quickly from the comfort of your own home. This patient-focused service requires no downloads, no sneaky sign-ups, and there is never any cost to use it. It is also compliant with HIPAA, so you can be assured your personal information will be kept safe and confidential. No referral is necessary, you simply reach out to us as needed and we will be in touch with you as soon as we can.

How does it work?

Rhinogram could not be easier! To initiate your free virtual consultation, text us the following photographs

  • frontal
  • RIGHT close up
  • LEFT close up
  • upper
  • lower

and include a brief summary as well as any questions you have about the orthodontic issue you are experiencing. We will review these and respond as soon as we are able to, as well as provide you with any further instructions from Rhinogram. The initial advice you receive from us will be an estimation, and not in-depth specifics. In order to develop a customized treatment plan, more records and photographs will be necessary. 

lower teeth

What are the benefits of Rhinogram?

Aside from the convenience and ease of texting with an orthodontic practice like ours, Rhinogram provides our team with the opportunity to practice a more patient-focused approach via real and conversational texting. Texts are sent and received through our existing office number, and used for everything from scheduling and following up appointments to answering a variety of questions regarding orthodontic issues and care. Rhinogram is a secure channel with a personal touch, and because every conversation is stored in one place, all of our team members are able to stay on the same page of each case. No more repeating yourself!

bottom of teeth

Text Bennett Orthodontics with Rhinogram

We are so excited about this new system we are offering, and we think you will be, too! For current patients, we can schedule and reschedule appointments, follow up after appointments, and answer treatment or insurance questions using Rhinogram. If you are not yet a Bennett Orthodontics patient, Rhinogram gives us the chance to potentially offer a preliminary diagnosis and treatment plan before we even see you in our Mobile office! We can engage with you and meet your needs before you ever become a patient, a much desired and entirely necessary service in today’s world. To learn more about Rhinogram, how to use it, and all the ways it can enhance your relationship with our orthodontic office, get in touch today!

Orthodontic Options for All Ages

April 17th, 2018

While most of us think of tweens and teens when we talk about braces, orthodontic treatment is for patients of all ages. About 25% of current orthodontic patients are adults, and the American Association of Orthodontics recommends a child have their first orthodontic evaluation before the age of seven, which just goes to show that you are never too young, or too old, to improve your oral health. Whether you are a child, a teen, or an adult— Bennett Orthodontics will provide you with quality orthodontic care so you can have a beautiful and healthy smile that lasts a lifetime!

Whether you are looking for information on interceptive treatment for your child, braces for your teen, or orthodontics for yourself, we have you covered at Bennett Orthodontics. We even created this guide to orthodontics for all ages to get you started!

Children and Orthodontics

There may not be an exact minimum age for children to begin orthodontic treatment, but the American Association of Orthodontists still recommends that children receive their first orthodontic evaluation by the age of seven. Most children have a mix of both primary teeth and permanent teeth at this age, which makes it easier for experienced orthodontists like Dr. Bennett to diagnose and correct tooth and jaw problems early. This lessens the chance of them requiring more serious treatment because the problems became more severe on down the line. At Bennett Orthodontics, this interceptive treatment allows us to:

  • help avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions later in life
  • correct bad habits like thumb or finger sucking
  • help improve minor speech problems
  • correct and guide the growth of a child’s jaw to help permanent teeth come in straight
  • regulate the width of the upper and lower arches
  • create more space for crowded teeth

Just simply looking at your child does not let you know whether or not they may need orthodontic treatment. Many dental issues are not visible on the surface, which means outward appearances can be deceiving. We will be checking for several potential problems that could indicate a need for treatment during your child’s initial orthodontic evaluation with us, like:

  • teeth that come together abnormally, or do not come together at all
  • jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face
  • crowded front teeth from around the age of seven or eight
  • baby teeth earlier or later than normal
  • difficulties with chewing or biting food
  • mouth breathing
  • finger or thumb sucking
  • crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
  • jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing

The first step in giving your child a healthy, beautiful smile for the future is scheduling their first orthodontic exam with us.

Girl smiling

Teens and Braces

You likely have a lot of questions and concerns if you suspect your teen may be in need of corrective orthodontic treatment. Your teen may be feeling worried when considering braces, and you may be feeling nervous. This should only be a short-lived reaction! By showing you how the bulkier, more awkward metal braces of the past have evolved into braces that are smaller, sleeker, and far more comfortable than ever before, our Bennett Orthodontics team can help set your mind at ease. By choosing from the variety of styles, materials, and colors available, teens are able to show off their personality.

We offer a wide variety of orthodontic appliances that teens can choose from, both fixed and removable:

  • Ceramic braces
  • Invisalign clear aligner therapy
  • Traditional metal braces

“How long will I have to wear braces?” is the question we hear from teens the most. Since treatment time is on a case-by-case basis and will depend on the severity and goals of each patient, there really is no concrete answer for it. However, since a few common key factors determine the amount of time it will take to treat their smile with braces, we can estimate how long it might be.

Early treatment — In order for us to be able to recommend further orthodontic treatment if necessary, we need to monitor the growth of the jaw. We can cut down the total time needed in braces by a considerable amount when we catch the problems in the early stages.

What needs correction — Because patients react to treatment in different ways, what may take one patient twelve months to correct may take another patient twenty-four or even thirty-six months. The amount of treatment needed to correct a problem is what will determine how long the process itself takes. How quickly your teen’s body responds to treatment also plays a key factor in the time it takes.

Your teen —  By sticking to Dr. Bennett’s recommendations, teens can help keep their treatment time to a minimum by taking good care of their appliance, and maintaining a thorough dental hygiene routine. Completing the treatment as quickly as possible all depends upon compliance!


Adults seeking out orthodontic treatment later in life is becoming more and more common. We often better understand the importance of maintaining oral health, and want to feel better about our overall appearance as we get older. Adults are able to take advantage of more modern treatment options, which offer discreet but effective ways to straighten smiles, including clear braces and clear aligner systems like Invisalign.

Adult patients seeking orthodontic treatment often have one or more of these common issues:

  • any abnormal jaw pain, or pressure that is caused by crooked teeth
  • the desire for a healthier mouth, straight teeth, and a more confident smile
  • a bad bite (malocclusion) causing the teeth to fit together incorrectly
  • the teeth are too crowded, or spaced too far apart

Young woman with clear braces

A Difference in Ages

In younger patients their jawbones are still developing, which makes less invasive treatment more likely to be successful. This is the biggest difference in treating adults when compared to children and teens. The possibility of orthognathic surgery to align the jawbones is prevalent in adults because their jawbones have stopped growing. Other differences can include:

Gum or bone loss (periodontal disease) — Patients with straighter teeth are much less likely to encounter gum disease. Adults are naturally more likely than children to experience gum recession or bone loss due to gingivitis or advanced periodontal disease.

Worn or missing teeth — Missing teeth can cause other teeth to shift and tilt, creating a bad bite and increasing the possibility of gum disease. Over time, teeth can become worn down and shift into different positions that can only be corrected with orthodontic care.

Incomplete orthodontic treatment as a teen — Teeth that have been straightened are likely to have shifted over the years. Adults often choose to complete or redo their orthodontic treatment to achieve the healthy, beautiful smile they have always wanted. They may have stopped orthodontic treatment as a child or teen and never completed the process, or they did not wear their retainer as directed after completing treatment.

Dr. Bennett will work closely with you to ensure you or your child receive the most appropriate treatments based on your particular needs. Our team will guarantee you are met with understanding and respect throughout the treatment process. Bennett Orthodontics recognizes that adults and children require different levels of attention and care because they have different orthodontic needs.

Orthodontic Treatment for You, Your Teen, or Your Child

Straight teeth are healthy teeth — Flossing and brushing works better with properly aligned teeth, and may also help prevent other health problems.

A straighter smile can build confidence — Your self-confidence, will be boosted from orthodontic treatment, resulting in a better quality of life and sharing your smile with the world.

Untreated issues can get worse — Long-term health issues will end up costing you more time and money in the end if you avoid orthodontic treatment when it is recommended for you.

Whether you are seven or seventy, Bennett Orthodontics is all about putting patients first! We work hard to create beautiful smiles for all ages in a relaxed, family-friendly environment. If you are in the Mobile area, get in touch with our conveniently located office to find out more information on what orthodontics have to offer you and your family. Schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Bennett and our team, so we can invest together in a smile that lasts a lifetime!

Orthodontic Emergencies

March 22nd, 2018

Emergencies are scary, especially when they involve us. When it comes to true orthodontic emergencies, fortunately, they are rare. Our team at Bennett Orthodontics works hard to ensure that your orthodontic treatment is as comfortable as possible. When you first get braces or when they are adjusted, it is normal to feel some slight discomfort. However, occasionally you may encounter a problem that causes more severe pain. Typically, these kinds of problems can be resolved at home, giving you immediate relief and eliminating extra trips to the office. That being said, a true orthodontic (or dental) emergency can happen, and if so, it will need immediate attention. Let’s look at what constitutes a true orthodontic emergency.

True dental emergencies may include:

  • Major trauma or injury to the teeth, face, or mouth
  • Infection, swelling and/or bleeding of the gums, mouth, or face
  • Severe unmanageable pain in the mouth

If any of these situations should arise, seek the help of your general dentist as soon as possible. Depending on the injury, heading to the emergency room may be your best option. Once you have attended to the emergency situation, call us to set up a follow-up appointment.  We will evaluate your appliances and adjust your orthodontic treatment plan as needed.

Minor orthodontic emergencies and remedies

The great news is that the vast majority of orthodontic problems are considered minor even though they are painful. In these cases, you may be surprised to learn that you can temporarily resolve many of these problems and the discomfort that comes with them right from your own home while you wait for your next appointment. Listed below are some possible orthodontic situations and how they may be remedied at home.

broken retainer

Loose/Broken Brackets, Bands, or Wires

Generally, loose or broken brackets are not an urgent problem. If the broken piece has come off, put it in a plastic bag and save it for your next appointment. If the bracket or band is still attached to the wire, leave it alone and call our office. If it is irritating or scraping the inside of your mouth, you can cover it with orthodontic wax. Either way, be sure to give us a call, so we can determine what your next steps should be.

Misplaced or Poking Archwire, Bracket, or Tie

As your teeth begin adjusting to treatment, the wire may stick out and irritate your cheeks. If this happens, the wire can often be moved into a better position by using a pencil eraser or Q-tip. If you choose this option, be sure to dry the area first with a cotton swab or paper towel. If misplaced wires or ties are causing you trouble, you may be able to put them back with a pair of tweezers cleaned in rubbing alcohol. If you notice one of your elastic ties is missing, there is no need to call our office.  We will replace the ties at your next scheduled appointment. If any wires or brackets are irritating your mouth, you can cover them with orthodontic wax for temporary relief. Additionally, you can gently trim some wires using nail or wire clippers cleaned with rubbing alcohol. If you are unable to resolve the issue, please give us a call.

General Tooth Pain or Loosening

When you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, it is common to feel that your teeth are loose – this means they are moving! Sometimes, this can be accompanied by tenderness. For minor soreness, you can use your regular over-the-counter pain reliever. A twice-a-day salt water rinse may also help. Mix one teaspoon of salt into an 8-ounce glass of warm water and rinse for thirty seconds. A warm washcloth or heating pad placed on the outside of the jaw can also offer some relief. Topical numbing solutions such as Ora-base are helpful to alleviate ulcer pain.     

Broken Retainer

Retainers are not indestructible. It is possible for the metal or plastic parts of your retainer to bend or break. If this happens, stop wearing the retainer immediately and give us a call. If the retainer has broken, collect all the pieces in a plastic bag and bring them to your next appointment.  Be sure to call and schedule as soon as possible so that you are not going without a retainer for an extended period of time, as your teeth can shift.

Swallowing Braces or Appliances

Swallowing braces or other appliances tends to occur relatively infrequently. If it does occur, try to remain calm. Whatever has been swallowed will normally pass during regular bowel movements. However, if you experience difficulty breathing as a result, you should seek immediate medical attention.  

Woman at a doctor consultation

Handling orthodontic emergencies with the help of Bennett Orthodontics

While rare, orthodontic emergencies can happen. The best thing you can do in an emergency is remain calm. As a general rule, call our office first if you experience severe pain or have an appliance problem you cannot resolve at home. We will do everything we can to alleviate your discomfort and fix the problem as quickly as possible!

The journey to your beautiful smile should be enjoyable. Dr. Bennett and his team do everything in their power to provide the best orthodontic experience possible to every patient and parent. If you have any questions or are considering orthodontic treatment, please contact our Mobile, AL orthodontic office to schedule a complimentary consultation. The sooner you call, the sooner you will be on your way to a beautiful new smile. We hope to see you soon!

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