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Can Orthodontists Fill Cavities?

Welcome to Reese Orthodontics, your Charleston, SC premier Invisalign and Braces professional. We look forward to helping you obtain your best smile.

The treatments offered by orthodontists and dentists often overlap since they both address issues with your teeth. However, the disciplines differ in terms of the diseases they diagnose and the treatments they are qualified to prescribe. You can often see one or the other for an issue, but this often differs between providers and situations.

The question of whether orthodontists fill cavities depends on the individual doctor’s services and expertise. While orthodontists specialize in structural treatments and appliances, many can also address minor dental issues like cavities. Continue reading to learn more about this distinction so you can choose the right professional for your needs.

Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.

What Do Orthodontists Do?

Orthodontists specialize in treating issues related to your teeth and jaw, including crowding, overbites, underbites, and more. They do so by using a variety of appliances that can be removable or permanent, depending on the treatment prescribed. Common appliances used in orthodontic treatment include:

  • Full braces
  • Lingual braces
  • Self-ligating braces
  • Invisalign
  • Herbst appliances
  • Palate expanders
  • Elastics

While some dentists can prescribe basic appliances, they are usually not trained in administering them. Orthodontists focus on using these devices to help patients make lasting changes to their oral structures based on their treatment plans.

To that end, orthodontists can administer in-office X-rays, conduct oral exams, extract teeth, perform oral surgery, and sometimes even fill cavities.

What Do Dentists Do?

In contrast to orthodontists, dentists specialize in tooth repair and cleaning rather than structural and surgical changes. The treatments offered by dentists typically include:

  • Oral cleanings
  • Oral surgery
  • Dental caps and veneers
  • Fillings
  • Teeth whitening
  • Gum disease treatment
  • Cracked tooth repair

Like orthodontists, dentists can also perform X-rays, conduct oral exams, and suggest prescription medications to your doctor. They typically do not prescribe oral appliances, referring patients to orthodontists for those evaluations.

However, many orthodontic issues stem from dental issues or simply cannot be administered until the dental issues have been resolved. For instance, braces cannot be applied if the patient has oral cavities. In that sense, dentists and orthodontists frequently work in tandem to treat patients, using their specialties when warranted to provide comprehensive care.

Tips to Avoid Cavities with Braces

Orthodontists use X-rays to determine whether you or your child has cavities before starting braces. This is because having cavities with braces and other appliances can lead to accelerated tooth decay, gum disease, or even tooth loss. They need to be treated before you can start.

To prevent cavities, both before and during braces treatment, make sure you floss 1-2 times per day, brush 2-3 times per day, and use a mouthwash that contains fluoride at least once a day. Those are the common tips. In addition, here are some extra steps to ensure you don’t have to delay your treatment because of a cavity:

  • Use a soft-bristled mechanical toothbrush. Hard brushes can wear down your enamel and contribute to tooth sensitivity.
  • Use a Waterpik in addition to flossing to help flush out plaque-causing food debris and bacteria. Put a teaspoon of mouthwash in the water basin to make it even more effective.
  • Follow your orthodontist’s recommendations for food and drinks. While their diet is primarily intended to keep your appliance safe, it can also help prevent cavities by cutting back on sugary drinks and foods that cause cavities and oral diseases.
  • Know your risk factors for cavities, which include how crowded your teeth are and your family history. This will help you take the necessary precautions before getting braces.

Speak with your orthodontist or dentist if you are concerned about cavities before you receive braces and during your treatment. Though untreated cavities can have negative oral health effects, they can be filled even while you have braces. Additionally, if your appliance gets in the way of having the cavities treated, your orthodontist can remove it until you have the cavities filled.

This is not ideal, which is why it’s important to get checked for cavities before treatment begins. Speak with both your orthodontist and dentist to see whether you need any procedures before your orthodontic treatment can begin.

Choose Reese Orthodontics

If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you. 

Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.

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