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. Deborah Himelhoch of Smiles in Framingham near Wayland, MA has years of experience in her field, and is here to make you aware of the possibility of getting braces from your dentist.

Dr. Deborah Himelhoch 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:

  • 1) My family dentist says that he can straighten my teeth
  • 2) 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, a Smiles in Framingham 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. Deborah Himelhoch 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 Wayland, MA that can give you the healthy, beautiful smile that you deserve, then look no further than Dr. Deborah Himelhoch at Smiles in Framingham. She will be sure to give you the best orthodontic experience possible. To schedule a consultation, please contact us at our office or at 508.872.0555 today!


To all my wonderful patients and their families:


The greatest pleasures of my career are watching children grow strong and healthy and seeing smiles become more beautiful. It has been a tremendous privilege to be a part of that growth and transformation. Now, however, it is time for me to slow down and share the care of my patients.


Starting in September 2022, Smiles in Framingham will merge with Moynihan Dental Specialists. I will remain with the practice, but will reduce my hours and give up administrative responsibilities. The wonderful team of people you and I have come to rely on will be staying. They will continue to help care for you. There will also be new faces, new people who will get to know and care for and about you.


Dr. Michael Moynihan is a second generation dentist and orthodontist practicing in Framingham. Dr. Mike, as he is known, is on the faculty of Boston University in the department of orthodontics. We spent two years as teaching partners supervising the Boston University orthodontic residents as they treated special needs children at Franciscan Hospital for Children. It was during that time I came to appreciate both how skilled Dr. Mike is and how much he cares about his patients. I retired from teaching prior to the pandemic, but Dr. Mike still puts much of his time and energy into teaching the next generation of orthodontists.


I met Dr. Daniel Moynihan when he was my student in 2017. Even at that time he was one of my most conscientious students. He cares deeply about all of his patients and I am proud to be associated with him. Dr. Dan is highly skilled with all aspects of orthodontics, including treatment using Invisalign and other aligners.


Dr. Katherine Moynihan and Dr. Christine Chiao are other members of the Moynihan team. Dr. Katherine Moynihan finished her orthodontic training at Boston University in 2021. Dr. Christine Chiao is a pediatric dentist, who also teaches at the Boston University School of Dental Medicine.


Life is an adventure with many chapters, twists, and turns. I enter this chapter of my life looking forward to what comes next and feeling some sadness that this phase of my life is changing. For now, we will be keeping all appointments as scheduled. We will contact you individually about any appointment changes. All orthodontic contracts will be honored with care provided by the orthodontists. I have every confidence that the doctors of Moynihan Dental Specialists will provide you with excellent care for many years to come.


My very best wishes to all of you,


Dr. Deborah Himelhoch