What’s the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist?

21st October 2020 by

Not all dentists are specialists.

Dentistry deals with a broad range of oral health issues including tooth decay, gum disease, broken and missing teeth while orthodontics is a speciality within dentistry working on correcting bites, facial development, improving function and appearance of your teeth. One specific difference is that all orthodontists are all qualified dentists but not all dentists are specialised orthodontists.

How are they similar?

The main similarity between the two is that they both focus on oral care; an orthodontist may work in a dental practice and provide the same care as a dentist. They are both fully qualified to provide you oral healthcare.

How are they different?

All orthodontists are qualified dentists first. It takes at least another 3 years of post-graduate training after dental school on an accredited orthodontic program to become a specialist orthodontist.

At the end of their studies they sit the Membership in Orthodontics examination of the Royal College of Surgeons. This qualification, along with a Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training allows them to register as a specialist orthodontist with the General Dental Council.

Special training is required to learn the skills to manage tooth movement (orthodontics) and guide facial development. Orthodontists are dental specialists who diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities.

Orthodontists limit their scope of work only to orthodontics since they are uniquely qualified in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of orthodontic problems. They dedicate their professional lives to creating healthy, beautiful smiles in children, teens and adults.

Orthodontists use a variety of “appliances,” including braces, clear aligners, lingual braces, functional appliances and retainers, to move teeth or hold them in their new positions.

Dentist typically encourage good oral hygiene and provide services related to:

  • Tooth Decay
  • Gum Disease
  • Root Canals
  • Crowns
  • Bridges
  • Veneers
  • Teeth Whitening

Orthodontists will usually provide services related to:

  • Misaligned teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Overbite
  • Underbite

What can an orthodontist help me with that a dentist can’t?

If you have crooked teeth, it is usually advisable to go see your dentist first but they’ll usually refer you to an orthodontist. They use their knowledge and skills to help you get the best results possible by working closely with your dentist.

They can also help with underbites, crossbites, gaps in your teeth, overcrowded teeth and other temporomandibular disorders, other jaw problems or issues also need to be treated by an orthodontist.

What do I do if I want to see an orthodontist?

Get in touch with our friendly team and we’ll arrange a consultation with you and our specialist orthodontist Raman as soon as possible. If travelling is difficult you can email photographs and arrange an initial video consultation. He will discuss your concerns, your possible treatment and decide on the best course of action for you.

The orthodontist will do an orthodontic examination to check the health of your teeth, jaws, and facial muscles. As well as this, you will receive a full orthodontic report which will also be sent to your dentist.

What makes our Orthodontic team even more special?

Don’t forget, here at Bow Lane Dental not only do we have a specialist orthodontist, you will be assigned a dental therapist too.

They assist orthodontists in carrying out orthodontic treatment and provide some aspects of the treatment.

During your treatment, you will be given a dental monitoring kit which you can use in the comfort of your own home. This state-of-the-art kit means our team can monitor your progress virtually. This saves you time, appointments and commuting.

Don’t forget, we offer FREE retainers for you to take home at the end of your treatment to keep your newly straightened teeth in place.

How long should I wear my retainer?

When it comes to wearing retainers, the answer is simple. For as long as you want straight teeth!

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