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Lincroft, NJ — Orthodontic procedures are increasing in popularity at a steady rate according to the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), which reports that the number of adults in the U.S. wearing braces topped 1 million just a few years ago and is up 25% in the past 20 years. While a recent AAO study also shows that approximately 66 to 75 percent of Americans have some degree of malocclusion (crooked teeth) and could benefit from orthodontic treatment, Dr. Patrick Cuozzo, an orthodontist in New Jersey, says rushing into a procedure without taking the proper steps can be counterproductive and ultimately harm one’s chances of achieving a more beautiful smile. Dr. Cuozzo says patients need to be aware of an orthodontist’s qualifications and certifications first and foremost before starting any treatment such as Invisalign in New Jersey.

Because of the intense amount of planning and dental knowledge required in orthodontics, Dr. Cuozzo says one of the most essential attributes of a good orthodontist should be board-certification. Overseeing a rigorous written and clinical examination, the American Board of Orthodontics was founded in 1929 and is a demonstration to the general public of an orthodontist’s pursuit of excellence and mastery in the performance of orthodontic procedures. Applicants must pass a lengthy written exam followed by a presentation of several case studies to further evaluate the performance of the orthodontist, which Dr. Cuozzo says is extremely important to the completion of safe and effective procedures: “Board certification assures that patients are receiving the highest quality orthodontic treatment available. Orthodontists must complete treatments and submit cases to the board to be reviewed and defend treatment results in order to open themselves up for improvement.”

With new techniques and technology in modern dentistry constantly emerging, Dr. Cuozzo says a recent trend amongst many dental practices is to implement basic, rudimentary orthodontic treatments without proper training in the hopes of offering their patients a quick fix for complex problems. However, he says patients are often unaware of the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist, a distinction he adds is necessary to receiving the right solution for one’s needs. The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics report that there are over 155,000 dentists currently employed in America, while there are only 5,040 orthodontists who have met the requirements to correct malpositioned teeth. When asked what the difference between a dentist and orthodontist is and why patients should seek a board-certified orthodontist, he stresses the importance of specialization: “Orthodontics is a specialty of dentistry. This is what we do and this is all we do. An orthodontist has the experience, education, and expertise focused specifically on the science of orthodontics.”

Because of this discrepancy, Dr. Cuozzo says he urges patients to take the utmost care in selecting an orthodontist who has met the qualifications of the American Board of Orthodontics. Whether they are looking for Invisalign® or braces in New Jersey, he says patients should consult with an experienced and dedicated practice before undergoing any treatment. Through partnership with the right orthodontist, Dr. Cuozzo says patients can receive a custom, individualized plan for improving their smile as well as their confidence.

About Patrick T. Cuozzo, DDS, PA

A graduate of the University of Maryland Dental School, Dr. Patrick Cuozzo earned his Certificate of Specialty from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, where he now serves on the Orthodontics Faculty as a clinical instructor. He is board-certified by the American Board of Orthodontics and a member of the American Dental Association, the American Association of Orthodontists, and the New Jersey Association of Orthodontists. Dr. Cuozzo has been selected as a Top Dentist by New Jersey Monthly magazine, and has earned several citations as one of New Jersey’s Top Orthodontic Specialists.

Cuozzo Orthodontic Specialists has two locations at 4 Swimming River Road in Lincroft, NJ, reachable at (732) 747-3466, and 548 Washington Blvd in Sea Girt, NJ, reachable at (732) 449-5444. It can also be contacted online via the website 4StraightTeeth.com or via facebook.