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Orthodontist vs Dentist – What’s The Difference?

December 5, 2022

When we think of general dental care, we often think of teeth cleanings, filling cavities, and correcting crooked teeth with everyone’s favorite dental device, braces. But should you see a general dentist (also known as a family dentist) or an orthodontist? What’s the difference? Orthodontist vs dentist? Who should you see first? No worries, we’ll answer these questions and more as we compare the two.

Let’s Start With The Basics; What Is A Dentist?

Dentists are doctors who have received a bachelor’s in science, have graduated from a dental school, and have been certified by the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE). Dentists obtain all of these qualifications to secure a dental degree. They specialize in promoting vital dental hygiene and oral care, preventing severe oral health issues, and even preventing poor oral health from affecting other areas of the body.

Orthodontist vs Dentist - dental services.

What Do Dentists Specialize In?

  • Eliminating plaque build-up
  • Clearing out tooth decay
  • Filling cavities
  • Tooth Extractions
  • Check for signs of mouth cancer
  • Denture Modeling
  • Veneers
  • Crowns
  • Root canals
  • Combat gum disease

Dentists can also apply anesthesiology leading up to a dental procedure, track the growth of your teeth, perform x-rays, monitor your overall oral health, and so much more.  

Can I Go To A Dentist For Braces?

You can go to a dentist for braces in some cases. If your dentist has received the proper training through seminars, they may be qualified to install braces. However, it’s still highly recommended that you see an orthodontist due to their intensive training in teeth alignment. Yes, a seminar can teach a dentist orthodontic treatments, like how to apply braces, but the training is still surface-level compared to the training an ortho has received. With that in mind, a dentist will refer you to a specialist for orthodontic services. 

Is An Orthodontist A Dentist?

Yes! Orthodontists are dentists but remember that not all dentists have gone through the extra schooling to provide orthodontic care. Orthodontist vs dentist, what’s the difference? To become an ortho, one must undergo two to three years of additional full-time training. That being said, though, they typically stick to the alignment of teeth.

Orthodontist vs Dentist. Doctorate Degree.

What do Orthodontists specialize in?

  • Under and overbites
  • Crowded teeth
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Temporomandibular disorders (TMD)

What Can An Orthodontist Do That A Dentist Can’t? 

Though both a dentist and an orthodontist are qualified to do many of the same techniques and procedures, orthodontists are much more qualified for dental alignment treatments. However, you shouldn’t contact your local ortho for teeth cleaning/whitening services. The two practices are separate so dentists and orthodontists can focus on their specialization. This is why for many people, it’s essential to see both.

Will An Orthodontist Inform You Of A Cavity? 

Yes, an orthodontist will inform you of a cavity. If you’re seeing a specialized dentist, such as an orthodontist, you’re likely getting your teeth straightened one way or another. Most commonly with the help of braces. Suppose this is the case, and your ortho sees a cavity. In that case, they will remove any brackets or bands covering the tooth in concern and refer you to your general/family dentist to treat it.Orthodontist vs Dentist, who can fix braces.

Who Should You See First: A Orthodontist or Dentist?

If you require orthodontic treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that you see your family dentist before meeting with an ortho. 

By seeing a dentist first, they can address any dental issues, refer you to the proper specialist, and you may find that you need to see someone else, such as:

  • Periodontist
  • Prosthodontist
  • Oral pathologist
  • Oral Surgeon
  • Endodontist

It’s easy to be confused about the differences between orthodontist vs dentist, but hopefully, this article helps clear the fog. Do you want to learn more? Check out our last blog covering the history of orthodontics.

How We Can Help!

We’re here to help answer any questions you may have. The goal of our family practice is to help provide you with the oral health and smile you deserve and nothing less! 

Do you want to take the next step in dental hygiene? Orthodontic Arts, your number one Orthodontist in OKC. Our Certified Orthodontist provides the latest and greatest Orthodontic practices to our clients in the OKC and Midtown area. Orthodontic Arts is the best place for child and teen orthodontics as well as adult orthodontics. Be sure to ask about Invisalign and invisible braces! Contact us today at (405) 604-3745 or request an appointment.