The Difference Between Dentists and Orthodontists

The Difference Between Dentists and Orthodontists

People often associate a beautiful smile with good health. The association comes about because your oral health plays a big part in your overall well-being. When taking care of your oral health, you may realize that there are different types of oral health care providers.

One of those providers is an orthodontist. You know you need to go for dentist checkups and cleanings twice a year. However, you may wonder when to see an orthodontist. It helps to know which services each provider gives. This way, you make an appointment with the proper professional for your needs.

What Does a Dentist Do?

A dentist is your primary dental care provider; they diagnose and treat general dental issues. They will take care of your teeth, gum, and mouth. When you go for a checkup, they will spot dental problems and treat them. These problems may include tooth decay, cavities, or gum disease.

Dentists will also improve the appearance and function of your teeth. They will do this by treating broken or misshapen teeth. They can recommend and apply bonding, crowns, or veneers. They will tell you how to maintain your oral health to avoid issues and diseases.

What Does an Orthodontist Do?

These are dentists who specialize in moving teeth and aligning jaws. They correct gaps between teeth, overbites, underbites, and crowded teeth. They have many tools at their disposal to help with these alignments, including braces, aligners, and other orthodontic appliances.

Alignment issues are unique to each person. Thus, orthodontists custom-make many of the tools they use. They need equipment for x-rays and to take photos of teeth.

Similarities Between Dentists and Orthodontists

The main similarity is that they focus on oral care. An orthodontist is a type of dentist. However, not all dentists are orthodontists. So, in this respect, an orthodontist can work in a dentist’s office and provide the same care. They can deal with your teeth, gums, and mouth.

Differences Between Dentists and Orthodontists

The differences between dentists and orthodontists are more than their similarities. The orthodontist must get additional schooling to specialize in their branch of dentistry. They need this additional schooling to deal with the alignment of teeth, fitting braces, and other corrective devices for their patients.

They must do this precisely to avoid additional problems with the patient’s teeth. When a patient has a problem with teeth alignment, a dentist will refer them to an orthodontist.

Should You See a Dentist or Orthodontist?

Your dentist is like a general practitioner, while the orthodontist is a specialist. A dentist can resolve most of the issues you have with your teeth and gums. These include tooth decay, cavities, extraction, and gum disease. However, there are cases they will refer to an orthodontist.

When your teeth need alignment, you need to see an orthodontist. The same applies to issues with jaw malocclusion, palate expansion, and the crowding of teeth. Dentists recommend that an orthodontist assess your child’s teeth before the age of seven years. They will advise you on how to take care of the growing teeth to avoid misalignment.

For more information on dentists and orthodontists, visit Smile Institute Miami at our office in Miami, Florida. You can call (305) 590-5228 today to schedule an appointment.

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