Would you believe if told all orthodontists are dentists, but the same theory doesn’t apply to dentists who are not orthodontists? Both professionals help patients improve their oral health differently. General dentistry is a broader specialty dealing with the teeth, gums, nerves, and jaw.
Orthodontics is a different specialty in dentistry, focusing on correcting bites, occlusion, and straightening teeth. All orthodontists graduate from dental school before they specialize in orthodontics, spending an additional two to three years in a residency program specializing in their chosen field.
This explanation should answer your question about what’s the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist. However, we provide additional information in this article for you to clear any misconceptions in your mind about the differences between these two professionals.
Dentists generally encourage good oral hygiene and provide services related to tooth decay, root canals, crowns, bridges, gum disease, veneers, teeth whitening, fillings, etc. If you visit the dentist in Torrance, CA, for straightening your teeth, you likely receive a referral to orthodontists in Torrance, CA, who specialize in straightening teeth and improving your bite. If you need corrective braces or orthodontic appliances, you must visit an orthodontist near you for help.
Noting that more than 20 percent of American adults are currently seeking treatments for straightening their teeth, many dentists provide orthodontic treatments. However, they are doing so by working in conjunction with orthodontists or have acquired experience using similar methods to provide additional services to patients. Whenever a dentist offers you orthodontic treatments, you must realize they are only providing the treatment to straighten your teeth without considering the complexities of treating all orthodontic problems. You undoubtedly get straighter teeth from the treatment provided by the dentist near you but may still encounter issues that require help from a specialized professional.
Besides straightening your teeth, orthodontists can help you by treating underbites, overbites, gaps between your teeth, overcrowding, and help with temporomandibular joint disorders. If you have any additional problems with your jaw, you must seek treatment from an orthodontist.
Dentists also receive training in orthodontic care during their tenure in dental school. However, if you need to balance the different procedures with your teeth, you require your chances of succeeding are better when you seek help from an orthodontist. Therefore it helps to understand the dentists are specialists in general procedures while orthodontists specialize in providing complicated treatments beyond the scope of general dentistry.
If you receive a referral from your dentist to an orthodontist, it indicates that the professionals do not hesitate to work together whenever required. Similarly, when you visit an orthodontist for teeth straightening treatments and the professional identifies overcrowding as the reason for your crooked teeth, you receive a referral to your dentist to have some teeth extracted.
Before graduating from dental school, orthodontists also receive training to extract teeth and are fully equipped to do so whenever required. However, orthodontists prefer to work within their specialized field and provide a referral to the dentist to manage minor procedures like extractions. You may think you must schedule another appointment with your dentist and pay for the extraction. While your thinking is justified, it will help if you understand orthodontists as specialists will likely charge you a higher price for a minor procedure like extracting a couple of teeth. Therefore you must prepare yourself for a visit to your dentist for the extraction.
Orthodontists and dentists are both professionals that graduated from dental school. While dentists begin practicing immediately after graduation, orthodontists preferred to specialize in this particular field to help people affected by the issues described earlier to have straighter teeth to provide them better oral hygiene.
After you complete your orthodontic treatment and begin displaying your new smile and beautiful teeth, you no longer need to visit the orthodontist for dental care. Instead, you can contact your dentist for six-monthly exams and cleanings besides any other dental issue that may bother you. Consider the two professionals as similar to a general physician and a cardiologist or a pediatrician. It helps you realize the differences between dentists and orthodontists more conveniently. Remember, orthodontists are dentists, but only three percent of dentists are orthodontists. If you have complicated orthodontic issues in your mouth, reading this article will help you understand which professional is better suited to treat your problems.