Dentist vs Orthodontist: Do you know the difference?

When it comes to the health and well-being of your teeth, regular visits to the dentist play an important role. But orthodontists are an integral part of your oral health as well and in many cases, it may be their expertise you need.

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a specialist in the field of orthodontics. This is an arm of dentistry that focuses on your teeth, jaw and facial structure. An orthodontist has qualified as a dentist, completing a five year Bachelor of Dentistry, but has then embarked on a further two-to-three years of study for a Master’s in Orthodontics. A survey conducted by The Invisible Orthodontist (TIO) found 48% of people (56% of men) did not know a specialist orthodontist had completed years of extra training.

What do orthodontists do?

Orthodontists look at your overall facial structure and are particularly concerned with the alignment of your teeth and jaws. They want to ensure your teeth are in their correct position which means a straighter smile and better overall oral health. The Invisible Orthodontist’s survey found 56% of people would consult a specialist orthodontist if they had a problem with the alignment of their teeth. Orthodontists treat children, teenagers and adults for both major and minor cases.

When should I see an orthodontist?

If your teeth overlap and you have problems with crowding or you have big gaps between them, this is when you should see an orthodontist. For people suffering from bite issues, such as an under or overbite, it’s also important to consult the specialist knowledge of an orthodontist. Such problems can be treated with a range of orthodontic appliances including traditional metal braces, Invisalign aligners and functional appliances. In TIO’s survey, 44% of people surveyed were not aware that a specialist orthodontist could offer a number of different ways to straighten teeth. 

What is the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?

In short, the difference is that an orthodontist is a specialist whereas a dentist is not. A specialist orthodontist will also be a member of orthodontic associations and governing bodies. Therefore, if you need specialist work done, it’s important to consult a specialist orthodontist.

Choose a Specialist - Jamie Post-Treatment Full

Flight Attendant Jamie Saye wanted to improve her smile with clear aligners but she wasted 14 months and thousands of dollars because she didn't choose a qualified, licensed orthodontist to provide th...

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