The Difference between Orthodontists and Dentists

There is literally nothing better than a perfect smile. Some people get this naturally while others, well, others have to look for it. It’s not bad and it’s certainly not your fault. Most teeth malformations that occur are hereditary while some occur naturally. The good news is these malformations can be corrected easily through a number of procedures that guarantee you the best smile ever and ensures the smile lasts forever.

For you to get the best professionals to help you correct your dental issues, you have to go to the right place. For instance, when your skin has blemishes, you contact a dermatologist, when you have heart problems, you look for a cardiologist. Your teeth are important too; just like your other body parts they deserve a professional too. Tooth malformations, if left unchecked, can affect your life in many ways, although they are more often underestimated than not. Finding a good solution to this condition can be very helpful in avoiding such problems later on.

Dentistry deals with the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of cavities and infections. Most dental practices are generalized and deal with issues that affect the mouth although it also involves other adjacent structures such as the jaws, gums and other relevant facial structures. Dentists are medical doctors who have undergone extensive studies to gain knowledge and skill on how to deal with these dental disorders.

Orthodontists are involved with the correction of dental malformations such as misaligned teeth, crooked teeth, overbites and under bites using procedures such as braces or clear removable aligners. Unlike dentists, orthodontists cannot perform dental surgeries.

There are more similarities than differences between general dentists and orthodontics. One of them being that, both certified from an accredited institution recognized by the American Board of Orthodontics and The American Dental Association with respect to profession. The second one being that they are both privy to dental theories and their practical applications. Some dentists have the capability to perform orthodontic procedures but this doesn’t necessarily make them orthodontists.

Although both orthodontists and dentists capable of correcting dental problems they have different specializations.

Dentists cover a wider and more generalized spectrum. Signs that show you need to consult a dentist and not an orthodontist are, if;

  • the health of your teeth and gums is a concern
    • You suspect that you have cavities or an infection
    • You want to know how to make your mouth clean and avoid any dental problems

Dentists will help solve these problems and educate you on how to keep your mouth clean and healthy because this happens to be their area of specialty. Orthodontists, on the other hand, go through specialized orthodontic training courses in universities linked with hospitals where they get to treat patients. This gives them a chance to apply theories learnt and it also helps them gain experience.

If you are looking to straighten your teeth you need to see an orthodontist. They are specialists who know what you really need and are there to guide you every step of the way. They understand your situation and are ready to observe, diagnose, understand and set a plan for the type of treatment that best suits your condition because of their vast experience. The most common signs that show you have to see an orthodontist are;

  • If you have teeth that are crooked, overcrowded or poorly aligned
    • If you have an over or under bite.
    • If you cannot chew or speak properly
    • If you have spaces between your teeth

So, why should I go to an orthodontist and not a general dentist?

Dentists have the capability of making dental corrections to deformed teeth although this doesn’t make them the best option for you because they are not very specialized in that area. General dentists have a general knowledge about dental problems. So, if you want to get the best out of a visit to a practitioner you should consider looking for orthodontists.

Orthodontists have more experience in correcting tooth deformities. Years of practice gained through specifically working on tooth deformities that range from very simple to very complicated procedures equip them with the best experience to work on correcting these deformities. This wide variety of skill sets experience and a specialized academic background gives them an edge over dentists in teeth re-alignment.

Dentists are more specialized in dealing with problems such as tooth decay, cavities and infection while an orthodontist specializes in correction of malformations. Orthodontists go through three more years of postgraduate study which when combined with the four year dental course, gives orthodontists more skills and knowledge, than general dentists, to diagnose and treat tooth malformations using different types of correction plans. This requires an in-depth knowledge of how different correction plans work gained through specialization and experience.

Orthodontists are also very dedicated to their work. They have the expertise on how different components of your mouth work. They chose to be specialized in orthodontics, which makes them, therefore, the most appropriate people to tackle your problem. There is no one more qualified to help you with your problems than a qualified, self-motivated professional who has the dedication to guide and help you with your dental issues.

Tooth malformations can be corrected using either braces or aligners. The treatment can start from as early as seven years of age. Most people don’t like braces, with good reason; they are cumbersome and give you a lot of trouble during flossing. Invisalign aligners are the best for you if you can’t really put up with braces. They can be custom designed to fit your mouth perfectly and most importantly, they virtually unnoticeable. This makes them perfect for you and your child.

Dental hygiene, combined with perfect teeth, is very important, more so to children. Children have to be able to smile comfortably at all times without having second thoughts or worrying about what their peers might say about their teeth. Beautiful smiles can boost self-esteem and confidence in children and adults alike. Gift yourself and your child with the ability to smile at any time, at any place.


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Smith Willas
Smith Willas is a freelance writer, blogger, and digital media journalist. He hold a bachelor’s degree from Florida University and his areas of interest are health and fitness, marketing, latest technologies, travel ideas, mobile tech, politics, and world news.