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

10th July 2015 by

The two are easily and often confused and to be honest, there is a certain amount of cross-over between the two.

Dentistry is a broad medical speciality which deals with teeth, gums, nerves and jaw while orthodontics is a speciality within dentistry specifically looking at correcting bites, occlusion and the straightness of 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 at an equally high standard.

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 an orthodontist. Special training is required to learn the skills to manage tooth movement (orthodontics) and guide facial development (dentofacial orthopaedics). 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:
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. Orthodontists have in-depth experience in orthodontic care. 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 here at Bow Lane Dental and we’ll arrange a private consultation with you and our specialist orthodontist Raman as soon as possible.
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. You will receive a full orthodontic report which will also be sent to your dentist.

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