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What Are The Differences Between An Dentist And An Orthodontist?

Posted By  
12:57 PM

Dentists and orthodontists are often mistaken for one another. However, they are two different professions. While they deal with people's oral health, they have different focus areas. Learning the difference between dentists and orthodontists is essential to know which of the two you need in case of an oral health issue. With that in mind, we go over all the similarities and dissimilarities between a dentist and an orthodontist in this article.


But before we do that, let's quickly touch upon what a dentist and orthodontist do as medical experts.


Who Is A Dentist?

A dentist is a healthcare professional who takes care of people’s oral needs, such as root canal treatments, tooth decay, gum problems etc. Apart from that, they also help maintain a person’s dental health by giving periodic consultations.


Simply put, the person you visit to get your teeth checked every few months is a dentist.


Who Is An Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental expert who deals with teeth alignment issues, jaw irregularities, broken braces and wires etc. So while they may be considered a dentist, they are more specialized and have a particular area of expertise within the field of dentistry.


How Are Dentists and Orthodontists Different?

There are many differences between a dentist and an orthodontist, including



  • They are generalised dental professionals, much like a general practitioner. They check a patient's teeth for basic problems, not focused on a specific aspect of oral health.
  • They may refer a patient to an orthodontist
  • They have a General Dental Degree
  • They don't go through rigorous specialized training after acquiring their degree.
  • They provide general dental care to people of all ages



  • They are specialised oral health experts who only deal with misaligned teeth, facial growth, and jaw structure. This means if someone has crooked teeth, they will go to an orthodontist. Likewise, if someone damages their jaw due to an accident, they will consult an orthodontist. These are just examples; you will go to an orthodontist whenever there is an issue with your dental structure.
  • They go through three years of advanced training in orthodontics to earn their title.
  • They offer orthodontic care to patients of all ages


What Are The Similarities Between A Dentist And An Orthodontist?

  • The first and foremost similarity between a dentist and orthodontist is that they both work in the world of dentistry.
  • They both hold a General Dentistry Degree.
  • They offer dental care to people of all ages. Sure, their services are directed towards different aspects of oral health. But their primary department is the same.


When to See a Dentist

Whenever you have an issue with your teeth, gum or jaw, the first medical expert you will have to visit is a dentist. If they find more extensive damage, they will refer you to an orthodontist. So, whether you have a toothache, gum infection, tooth decay or simply want to get your teeth professionally cleaned, book an appointment with your dentist.


When to See an Orthodontist?

If you have had orthodontic treatment, let's say you got braces, then you will go to your orthodontist if there is a problem later. For example, if a wire breaks after you get braces, then you will go to the orthodontist.


Now that you know how a dentist and orthodontist are different be sure not to confuse them again!