Clear Aligners

What is the difference between an orthodontist & a dentist?

Posted on August 9th, 2021

Both dentists and orthodontists are clinically trained doctors who specialize in oral healthcare. Doctors who study general dentistry are trained to diagnose and treat your gums, teeth, tongue, and mouth. Orthodontists also receive this training, but they have additional education so they can specialize in diagnosing and treating misalignments of your teeth and jaws.

We will dive into how orthodontists and dentists differ so you know which type of doctor you need to see based on what you are looking to achieve.

__What does a dentist do? __

Dentists provide care focused on diagnosing and treating problems related to the health of your teeth and gums. Typically, dentists go to college for a pre-dentistry or pre-medical degree before going on to a graduate school of dentistry.

Dentists are doctors of oral health and like all doctors, dentists are required to be highly trained in their practice before becoming certified.

Certified dentists can treat and provide care for tooth decay, root canals, gum disease, crowns, and veneers.

__What does an orthodontist do? __

Orthodontists provide care focused on the overall facial growth, bite function, facial and dental imbalances, and smile aesthetics.

Did you know that orthodontists first become dentists before specializing in orthodontics? After four years of dental school, dentists must apply to be accepted into a competitive residency in orthodontics. This specialty training process is similar to a doctor, completing medical school, and applying for residency to become an orthopedic surgeon, dermatologist, or plastic surgeon. Additionally, orthodontists specialize in helping patients with the alignment of their teeth, improving their bite, or fitting them for growth modification appliances, braces, or clear aligners.

__Who should you see? __

You can think of your dentist as your general practitioner and your orthodontist as a specialist. Most all standard dental issues can be resolved at your dentist’s office. There may be cases where your dentist will refer you to an orthodontist, like us, to treat jaw malocclusion, tooth crowding, and palate expansion. We also recommend children, as young as seven, come see us for a free consultation to see if they will be a candidate for clear aligners or braces.

Orthodontists and dentists are two types of doctors who go through extensive training and practice diagnosing and treating oral health conditions. When it comes to looking for experts in moving teeth—look no further than an orthodontist. Interested in achieving a healthy, confident smile? Come see us today to learn more about how our orthodontists treat even the most complex smile cases with our tech-enabled clear aligners.

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