Trust an Orthodontist with Your Family’s Smiles

If you’ve been considering an orthodontic evaluation for you or another family member, you may be wondering if you really need to consult an orthodontist or if this is something your regular dentist can handle. After all, you’re already familiar with your dentist’s office, and it’s understandable that you’d want to stick to what you know! However, dentists and orthodontists are not interchangeable, and there are some very significant differences between them that you should be aware of before making a decision that will affect something as important as your smile.

Here at Laidlaw Orthodontics, we know that you want nothing but the best for your family, including healthy teeth and a beautiful smile. Our practice is proud to offer expert orthodontic care to patients of all ages throughout our community! Dr. Andrea Laidlaw is a highly trained and skilled orthodontic specialist who has been providing Hillsboro families with exceptional care for many years. Understanding how an orthodontist like Dr. Laidlaw differs from a general dentist will help you make the most informed decision, so keep reading to learn more!

What are the main differences between a dentist and an orthodontist?

In general, a dentist looks at a patient’s overall oral health. Regular checkups help dentists identify and treat many oral hygiene problems, like cavities and gum disease. They’re also able to improve the function and appearance of a patient’s teeth through crowns, veneers, and other cosmetic treatments. Dentists are trained to spot signs of oral disease and can give you all the advice you need on how to maintain your oral health. 

Orthodontists, on the other hand, provide more specialized care. They are trained in various methods to align the jaws and move the teeth, so they are able to correct orthodontic issues like crowded teeth, overbites, and misalignments, to name just a few. They do this using orthodontic appliances such as traditional braces, clear aligners, and expanders. 

Here at Laidlaw Orthodontics, Dr. Laidlaw creates customized treatment plans for each and every patient based on their specific needs, lifestyle, and goals. This personalized attention and expert care guarantees the best results!

Education, Training, and Experience

Orthodontists and dentists both start their careers by completing dental school, but their paths diverge after graduation. To become a dentist, a person must complete four years of undergraduate education and four years of dental school before passing a rigorous written exam and clinical licensing exam. 

Orthodontics is a dental specialty that requires additional training after completing the above requirements. These courses go beyond basic dental instruction and have a specific focus on diagnosing and correcting orthodontic issues. This additional education includes a two- or three-year residency and almost 5,000 hours of specialized orthodontic training!

Dr. Andrea Laidlaw received her undergraduate education in biology at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. She went on to attend Oregon Health Sciences University School of Dentistry, receiving her Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD) degree, and graduating summa cum laude.

From there, Dr. Laidlaw went on to complete her post-doctoral residency in orthodontics at OHSU and earned her certificate in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.

She’s published several articles in professional journals and served for many years as the Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists’ Constituent Representative to the American Association of Orthodontists’ Council on New & Young Members. She is currently a diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics and an active member of the prestigious Angle Society of Orthodontists. She’s also an active member of several professional organizations and has held leadership positions in many of these.

Dr. Laidlaw worked as an associate clinical professor in the graduate orthodontic residency program at OHSU for seven years, where she helped train future orthodontists as well as stays up-to-date on the latest advances in orthodontics.

When should you see an orthodontist?

In some cases, there is an overlap in the services dentists and orthodontists offer. All dentists receive some basic orthodontic training at school, and some dentists even offer clear alignment treatment.   

What does that mean for you and your family? If someone develops a toothache or cavity, your dentist should always be the first stop. But if you’re dealing with a misalignment between the teeth and jaw, crooked teeth, or other issues with oral development, a consultation with a certified orthodontic specialist is your best bet.

Take a moment to consider what an experienced orthodontist can offer you, including:

  • a wider variety of treatment options
  • a customized treatment plan built around your unique smile
  • more efficient treatments and visits, since orthodontics is the main focus
  • the best possible outcome for your smile, especially if you have a severe or complex case

Our practice has only one focus—providing world-class orthodontic care to patients of all ages throughout Hillsboro, Portland, and the surrounding area. Our team puts a great deal of time, energy, and dedication into perfecting our techniques and service! Dr. Laidlaw performs teeth-straightening procedures daily, and our office takes advantage of the latest, most cutting-edge techniques and technology so you can achieve superior results in the shortest amount of time possible.

Trust an Orthodontist with Your Family’s Smiles

Choose Laidlaw Orthodontics for all your smile needs

Laidlaw Orthodontics is committed to providing every patient with a stress-free and positive orthodontic experience. Orthodontics is our specialty, so we have the experience and expertise necessary to give you a wide range of affordable treatment options, unmatched service, and a confident smile you’ll want to share with everyone around you! 

If you’d like to learn more about what orthodontics has to offer you and your family, we would love to meet you! When you schedule your free consultation with us, you’ll receive a thorough examination by Dr. Laidlaw. Following this exam, we’ll walk you through any issues detected and outline a personalized treatment plan for you. 

This is a no-pressure appointment and there are no worries if you decide not to pursue orthodontic treatment right away. Our team will still be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you might have to help you make an informed decision! 

You and your family deserve a lifetime of healthy smiles, so get in touch today to schedule your free consultation.