How Is an Orthodontist Different from a Dentist?

How Is an Orthodontist Different from a Dentist?

Jan 01, 2020

General dentists and orthodontists are both providing oral care to patients. Dentists are working on a wide variety of oral health issues including tooth and gum care, decay, hygiene, and structural problems. Orthodontist on the other hand focus on the alignment of the teeth and jaws with the use of non-surgical solutions to correct improper positioning of the teeth. Both individuals work in dental offices often serving in a practice together.

The Role of a General Dentist

Patients can receive both basic and complex care from general dentists. Patients will need the services of orthodontists only for correcting problems with their teeth. Dentists can oversee both types of problems to offer preventive and customary care. General dentists can provide routine periodic teeth cleaning, checkups, instructions on how to care for teeth, and x-ray reviews. They can remove teeth that are causing problems, fill cavities, repair cracked teeth, fractured teeth, develop models for dentures, and even provide teeth braces to children that need them.

General dentists must have the skills and experience necessary along with a variety of tools including small machinery and computer technology. They generally work with staff including dental assistants and hygienists who are called upon to help with jobs such as cleaning. When general dentists come across patients with alignment problems they generally refer the patient to an orthodontist.

The Role of an Orthodontist

Orthodontics is one of the nine dental specialties that are offered to students. The role of the orthodontist is to correct problems with alignment which can offer the patient cosmetic as well as health benefits. Proper tooth alignment can improve the physical appearance of the patient. It can also reduce the risk of tooth decay, stress on the chewing muscles, periodontal disease, and other problems.

If expander teeth are needed by a child to create more space in the mouth by gradually widening the upper jaw the orthodontist will be the individual that should be contacted for the correction. Similarly, people with crooked, and misaligned teeth that want to rectify the problem in their mouth at a later stage in their lives will also be referred to an orthodontist for the type of treatment they need. Teenagers are generally preferring clear braces that are made from ceramic and will not be displayed in the mouth even when being worn by the individual. Adults are prime candidates for invisible braces that are also available in different varieties and can be chosen if people feel embarrassed when they wear braces of any type in their mouth for cosmetic reasons. Orthodontists are routinely using tools such as ceramic braces, retainers, headgear for moving teeth into better positions and to retrain muscles. They can also treat underbites, overbites, large gaps between the teeth and overcrowding which happens when the teeth are too close to each other.

The Difference Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist

Any dental issue can be treated by a dentist including some orthodontics. However, they cannot practice as orthodontists because they haven’t received the additional training that was imparted after dental school. Orthodontists undergo a three-year residency after completing dental school and also work with patients before they are licensed to practice in their profession. Dentists, on the other hand, can begin practicing after finishing dental school. The difference between the two is that while an orthodontist can decide to practice as a dentist the same theory cannot be adopted by the dentist who will not be allowed to practice as an orthodontist. It is perhaps the reason why many dentists are referring their patients to orthodontists after conducting an initial examination to discover the problems in the patient’s mouth before referring them for specialized treatment to an orthodontist.

The main difference between the two is the qualification they have received and the areas of specialization.

How Do Patients Determine the Best Provider Suitable for Their Situation

Patients with dental problems can initially visit the Holland River dental and explain their problem to the dentist at the clinic. They may receive treatment if the issue is minor and can be managed by a general dentist. However, if a complex issue is observed needing attention from a specialist the dental clinic may refer the patient to Bradford orthodontist that specializes in dealing with orthodontic issues. Patients are suggested to begin a consultation with a dentist who if needed will refer them to an orthodontist for further treatment.

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