Orthodontist vs Dentist — what are the differences?

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Improving the patient’s overall oral health is the objective of both dentists and orthodontists but in different ways. Dentistry is a medical specialty dealing with the teeth, gums, nerves, and the jaw. Orthodontics is a specialty within dentistry focusing on correcting bites, occlusion and teeth straightness. The major difference between the two is that orthodontists can practice as dentists but the same flexibility hasn’t been provided to dentists that are not licensed, orthodontists.

How the Two Are Similar?

Both are focusing on oral care which is the main similarity between the two. An orthodontist can practice in a dental office to provide the same care as a Granville dentist. These are both practitioners considered as doctors dealing with the teeth and the gums.

What Are the Differences Between the Two?

More differences exist than similarities between an orthodontist and a dentist. A professional offering orthodontic treatment needs to complete additional schooling as a dental specialty which is similar to a medical practitioner obtaining additional education to become a surgeon. Another difference is that practitioners offering orthodontic services specialize in helping patients improve their bite, fit them with corrective braces and appliances to straighten their teeth. When a patient with an overbite visits a Granville dentist he or she will refer the patient to an orthodontist Granville, OH, for treatment.

Dentists generally encourage proper oral hygiene habits and provide services related to:

  • Teeth whitening, gum disease, tooth decay, root canals, crowns, bridges, veneers while requesting patients to visit them twice a year for cleanings and checkups to detect any problems in the mouth.
  • Aligning the teeth in the mouth of the patient is an area of specialty of orthodontists who generally provide services related to misaligned teeth, crowded teeth, overbite, underbite, etc.

What Can an Orthodontist Help Patients with?

It is popularly believed that orthodontists can only help people with crooked teeth. Perhaps people don’t realize that orthodontists can also help with overbite’s, underbite’s, crossbites, gaps between the teeth, overcrowding of the teeth and treat issues with the temporomandibular jaw. Orthodontics service is required to deal with any additional problems with the jaw.

A dentist certainly receives the training needed to provide some orthodontic care apart from extractions, fillings, and TMJ treatments but if you want to improve your smile it is suggested that you opt for orthodontic treatment because the orthodontist can balance the different procedures that may be needed by you.

People that are not aware of the differences between an orthodontist and a dentist will do well to research the information to understand who they should be visiting for any problem with their oral cavities. Visiting the dentist for clear aligners will not prove beneficial because the dentist will in every likelihood refer them to an orthodontist who is the qualified professional to manage these tasks.

Similarly visiting an orthodontist for detecting cavities or cleanings may provide the patient the guidance they need but is also likely to make them the recipients of a referral to a dentist as orthodontists have specialized to treat other cases as mentioned earlier.

Can Dentists Provide Orthodontic Treatment?

General dentists can certainly provide orthodontic treatment and many are doing so to a high standard. However, in most cases, they are unlikely to have the experience or the training needed to work as a specialized orthodontist. An orthodontist is a qualified specialist who initially trains to become a dentist and thereafter undertakes a three-year postgraduate course at Masters or doctorate level. Before dentists even consider beginning orthodontic training they need to gain experience conducting maxillofacial surgery, pediatric dentistry, and restorative dentistry. The specialized training will be provided in hospitals that are linked to universities and dental schools and requires a full-time commitment from the individual. The trainees are provided education on the theory of orthodontics and also need to gain experience by treating members of the public.

At the end of the training, the individuals that have opted for orthodontics will be required to appear for an examination at the Membership in Orthodontics of the College of surgeons. The qualification they achieve along with a certificate of completion of the specialized training provides them an opportunity to register as a specialist orthodontist with the general dental Council.

Dentists and orthodontists are both working in the same fields but have specialized in certain categories. While dentists consider dental problems of all types which an orthodontist can also do, an orthodontist prefers to work in the specialized fields he or she has qualified in.

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