Orthodontists and Dentists: what is the difference?

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Specialists in oral healthcare include dentists and orthodontists. General dentists are qualified to identify and manage problems with your gums, teeth, tongue, and mouth. Additionally, educated to specialize in finding and treating tooth and jaw misalignments, orthodontists undergo training.


Hence, this article will extensively detail how orthodontists and dentists differ to help you choose which kind of doctor you need to see.


What does a dentist do?


Dentists are doctors of oral health. Before continuing to a graduate school of dentistry, dentists typically attend college to earn a pre-dentistry or pre-medical degree.


Before getting qualified, dentists must complete significant training in their field, much like all other doctors. Approximately 80% of dentists engage in general dentistry.


Certified dentists can diagnose and treat your teeth, gums, tongue, and mouth might all have oral health issues. Additionally, they can clean your teeth, but dental hygienists often handle it.


These are the services that dentists offer:


  • Fill cavities
  • Extract teeth
  • Read dental X-rays and repair fractured teeth
  • Encourage oral hygiene and good oral health
  • Provide fillings and bondings to treat gum conditions like gingivitis.
  • Prescribe medication and other treatments for oral health issues
  • Install crowns or veneers
  • Teeth whitening
  • Monitor the growth of the children's teeth
  • Oral surgery


What does an orthodontist do?


Orthodontists are also dental health specialists. They are technically a type of Dentist specializing in jaw and tooth alignment.


Furthermore, the teeth, gums, and mouth issues that affect oral health can be diagnosed and treated by certified orthodontists. However, orthodontists primarily ensure that your teeth and jaw are properly aligned.


What orthodontists do is:


  • Supervise children's jawline and bite development
  • Figure out and address jaw and tooth alignment issues (malocclusion)
  • Developing a treatment strategy that includes braces and retainers
  • Conduct surgery to straighten your teeth
  • Installs orthodontic headgear, braces, palatal expanders, or other dental devices.


Should I consult a dentist or an orthodontist?


A visit to the Dentist can usually fix the most common dental problems. Moreover, your Dentist can identify and treat tooth pain, tooth decay, tooth damage, and tooth extraction. They can also treat oral infections, mouth inflammation, and gum disease. Consider your orthodontist as a specialist and your Dentist as a general practitioner.


In some cases, a dentist may suggest that you see an orthodontist. An orthodontist can treat palate expansion, dental crowding, and jaw malocclusion.


Additionally, kids should receive an orthodontic evaluation before they turn 7 to determine whether braces will be needed. Consider skipping the Dentist and heading straight to the orthodontist if you're an adult who thinks your teeth or jawline need to be straightened.


Not every orthodontic procedure will be supported by insurance, even if you have dental coverage. Technically speaking, an orthodontist is a specialist. In some circumstances, your insurance provider won't cover your visit to the orthodontist's office unless a dentist refers you.




Doctors specializing in detecting and treating issues related to oral health include dentists and orthodontists. Moreover, dentists usually do not have a license to do some orthodontics procedures.


Orthodontists are qualified to place braces and identify a misaligned jaw, thanks to further training they get. Therefore, start by asking your Dentist if they can recommend an orthodontist if you're unsure about the need for one.


To Know about dentists, Contact your Pinole dentist, Dr. Hoss Abar, DDS, MSD at Abar Orthodontics.




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This media/content or any other on this website does not prescribe, recommend, or prevent any treatment or procedure. Therefore, we highly recommend that you get the advice of a qualified dentist or other medical practitioners regarding your specific dental condition.

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