Can I Get Braces From My Dentist?

A question that many potential orthodontic patients ask is “Can my general dentist provide me with orthodontic care?” Well, the easy answer is yes; general dentists CAN offer a patient this treatment. However, if they want to provide orthodontic treatment in their practice, then they need to measure up to a certain standard of care. If a dentist can align and straighten a patient’s teeth with braces as well as an average orthodontist, then they are qualified to provide treatment. Dr. Heidi Harman of H2O Orthodontics near Independence, MO has years of experience in his field, and is here to make you aware of the possibility of getting braces from your dentist.

Dr. Heidi Harman says that orthodontists receive an extra two to three years of specialized training in orthodontics and braces beyond dental school, but every orthodontist has a different level of expertise.  In order to be comparable, a general dentist would have to take more education classes and gain a higher amount of experience. The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) has developed an online “myths and facts” sheet which states that the following are myths:

  • My family dentist says that he can straighten my teeth

  • Orthodontists charge more than general dentists for orthodontic treatment

In the fall of 2011, the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) reached out to the AAO to dispute that these statements are true and not myths. According to the AGD, hundreds of orthodontic procedures are carried out by general dentists each year. They also stated that “Restorative care can be much more complex than orthodontics. To imply that “drilling and filling” is mundane is demeaning.” The second ‘myth’ states than orthodontists will charge more for orthodontic treatment than dentists. This is largely untrue, as the cost of orthodontics is based on the complexity of treatment, rather than the profession of whoever is providing the treatment. Regrettably, even after receiving the AGD’s statement, the AAO still has not altered its’ website.

However, one H2O Orthodontics associate mentions one story coming from the Canadian province of New Brunswick that proves that there can be dangers associated with receiving treatment from a general dentist not certified in orthodontics. In June of 2013, a reporter from the Global News interviewed 18 year old Alec Stephen, who got braces from her dentist who told her that he could provide the same treatment as an orthodontist, but for a lower price. After 18 months, she ended up with a more pronounced overbite and her teeth had moved even farther apart. In the article, Dr. Ron Wolk, an orthodontist from Calgary, mentions that some dentists pay for membership to societies such as the “International Association of Orthodontics,” where members are not really orthodontists and are not defined by their training, but what they can do. Dr. Wolk says “It’s very deceiving to the public. They see that membership as validity.”


Not every general dentist will offer a patient orthodontics. Actually, most general dentists refer their orthodontic cases to an orthodontist. Dr. Heidi Harman says that some dentists do root canals, some work with braces, and others refer all of their patients that require root canals or braces to another specialist.

If you’re looking for a certified orthodontist near Independence, MO that can give you the healthy, beautiful smile that you deserve, then look no further than Dr. Heidi Harman at H2O Orthodontics. She will be sure to give you the best orthodontic experience possible. To schedule a consultation, please contact us at our office or at 913.782.7223 today!