What is the difference between orthopedic and orthodontist?

Answered by Michael Wilson

Orthopedic and orthodontic treatments are both related to the field of dentistry, but they focus on different aspects of oral health. Orthodontics primarily deals with the alignment and positioning of teeth, while orthopedics focuses on improving the skeletal structure of the face and jaw.

Orthodontics is primarily concerned with correcting malocclusions, which are abnormalities in the alignment of teeth and jaws. This can include problems such as crowded teeth, gaps between teeth, overbites, underbites, crossbites, and open bites. Orthodontic treatment typically involves the use of braces or aligners to gradually move the teeth into their proper positions.

Braces are made up of brackets, wires, and bands that work together to apply gentle pressure on the teeth, guiding them into the desired alignment over time. This treatment can take several months or even years, depending on the severity of the misalignment. Orthodontic treatment not only improves the appearance of the teeth but also helps in maintaining proper oral hygiene and bite function.

On the other hand, orthopedic treatment focuses on correcting skeletal and facial irregularities. It aims to improve the overall balance and harmony of the face by addressing issues related to the jaw and facial bones. Orthopedic treatment is often used in cases where there are significant discrepancies in the size or position of the upper and lower jaws.

One common orthopedic treatment technique is the use of functional appliances, such as headgear or expanders, which apply controlled pressure to the jaws to encourage proper growth and development. These appliances are typically used in children and teenagers whose jaws are still growing and can be guided into the desired position.

Orthopedic treatment may also involve surgical interventions in some cases, especially in adults where the growth of the jaws has already ceased. Surgical orthopedics can help correct severe skeletal discrepancies and improve facial aesthetics and function.

It’s important to note that orthodontic and orthopedic treatments are not mutually exclusive, and they can often be used in conjunction with each other. In some cases, orthodontic treatment may be preceded or followed by orthopedic intervention to achieve the best possible results.

Orthodontics focuses on aligning and straightening teeth, while orthopedics aims to improve the skeletal structure of the face and jaw. Both treatments play crucial roles in enhancing oral health, function, and aesthetics. Consulting with a qualified orthodontist or orthopedic specialist can help determine the most suitable treatment approach for individual needs.