Dentist and Orthodontist | 5 AWESOME DIFFERENCES EXPLAINED

Both a dentist and orthodontist are doctors. They work to improve the oral health of their patients. Though they achieve these results through different methods. Dentistry is a broad medical term dealing with the teeth, gums, nerves, and jaw. And can include treatment of tooth decay as well as tooth extraction. Orthodontics is an area of dentistry that focuses on irregularities of the teeth. Irregularities such as correcting bites, occlusion, and alignment of the teeth and jaws. In this post, we’ll take you through the difference between a Dentist and an Orthodontist? Let’s get going.

Dentist and Orthodontist


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How Do a Dentist and Orthodontist Differ?

Orthodontics includes the use of braces. Which allows proper alignment of adult teeth. One difference to note is that while all orthodontists dentists, not all dentists are orthodontists. This means not all dentists can perform the same services as an orthodontist


How Are They Alike?

The most important similarity shared between dentists and orthodontists is that they both specialize in oral care. Both types of doctors work in a dental office. Orthodontists can perform all the same professional services as a dentist. Both work with the teeth and gums. In these ways, orthodontists and dentists are quite similar.


How Are They Different?

There are far more differences than similarities between the two types of doctors. The differences begin during career training. Both dentists and orthodontists must complete med school. But, upon graduation, dentists move on to an accredited school of dentistry.

Here they will complete post-graduate classes. Orthodontists must graduate both med school and post-graduate training. Then complete a two-year residency program. In this program is orthodontic studies are the focus.


Orthodontists must graduate both med school and post-graduate training.


There are major and minor differences in the type of services these doctors provide, as well. It’s true that they both focus on dental issues like gum disease, root canals and the encouragement of proper hygiene. But, orthodontists specialize in helping patients with the correction of cosmetic dental and facial imperfections.

Corrections such as the alignment of the teeth or jaws. Also, improving patients’ bites, and fitting patients for braces and other corrective equipment. Orthodontics includes diagnosis and prevention of oral conditions. It also includes the treatment of these abnormalities. A dentist refers patients to an orthodontist for these issues.



There’s More

One other major difference between the two types of doctors and perhaps the most important is that while all orthodontics are dentists, not all dentists are licensed orthodontists. In fact, only about 10 percent of all dentists are also licensed in orthodontics. As a result, most dentists must refer their patients to an orthodontist any time a cosmetic issue arises, such as an underbite or overbite, tooth misalignment, or in instances where braces are needed.

Generally speaking, a dentist’s role is to encourage their patients to adopt proper oral hygiene habits. Patients should begin seeing a dentist as young as one year. Many people do not bring their children in until around two years. This is once baby teeth have had time to erupt through the gums.


Dental Services

Dentists provide services associated with:

  • Gum disease
  • Root canal
  • Tooth decay
  • Crowns & bridges
  • Veneers
  • Teeth whitening

Dentists can do more than just provide information on oral care, however. They are also trained to perform tooth extractions, treat TMJ, and to put in fillings.


Orthodontic Services

Orthodontists are specialized dentists whose work focuses on the proper alignment of the teeth and jaws. Their services include:

  • Misaligned or crooked teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Overbite
  • Underbite

Besides correcting crooked teeth, orthodontists assist with other issues. as well. These problems could include tooth and jaw alignment issues. Also, crossbites, and closing gaps and spaces between teeth. Orthodontists also treat jaw issues, such as temporomandibular disorders (TMD).

Orthodontists begin seeing patients around the age of seven. Though orthodontics is not limited to children. It’s essential for children to see an orthodontist. At least twice a year, for the sake of their future oral health.

After X-rays, an orthodontist is able to see any impending problems. Problems such as tooth misalignment and other issues that could cause ongoing problems in the future. Children who see an orthodontist beginning at an early age also have fewer dental problems later in life.


Dentist and Orthodontist – The Bottom Line

Dentists and orthodontists share some similarities. But, there are major differences in the services they provide. Also, methods by which they perform these services. A dentist is capable of providing patients with cleanings and basic oral care. An orthodontist can assist patients with a wide array of orthodontic issues.



At Childers Orthodontics, our patients receive the care they deserve. All in a fun, professional, and friendly atmosphere. Learn about the differences between a dentist and orthodontist or our treatment options and services available by visiting our Treatments page.

If you or a loved one are in need of orthodontic care, please don’t hesitate to call Dr. Childers at Childers Orthodontics. He has been serving the community of Southern Illinois since 1990. We would love to assist you with all your dental and orthodontic needs. Call any of our 3 convenient locations today to set up an appointment time!

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Dentist and Orthodontist | 5 DIFFERENCES EXPLAINED

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