Why are orthodontists different from dentists?

Answered by Ricardo McCardle

Orthodontists and dentists have distinct roles within the field of oral health. As an orthodontist, I specialize in correcting bites, occlusion, and the straightness of teeth, while dentists have a broader scope of practice that involves treating various dental conditions such as cavities, gum disease, and oral infections.

One of the main differences between orthodontists and dentists is the specific area of focus. While dentists provide general oral care, orthodontists concentrate on the alignment and positioning of teeth. This means that orthodontists are specially trained to diagnose and treat issues related to malocclusion, which refers to improper bites and the misalignment of teeth.

Orthodontic treatment often involves the use of braces, aligners, and other orthodontic appliances to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. These appliances exert gentle pressure on the teeth, allowing them to shift and align correctly over time. In some cases, orthodontists may also need to perform extractions or jaw surgery to achieve optimal results.

Another key difference is the duration of treatment. While a visit to the dentist may involve a one-time procedure or a few short appointments, orthodontic treatment typically spans over a longer period. The duration of orthodontic treatment varies depending on the severity of the case, but it can range from several months to a few years. Regular follow-up visits are necessary to monitor progress, make adjustments, and ensure the treatment is on track.

It’s worth noting that orthodontic treatment is not solely for aesthetic purposes. While many people seek orthodontic treatment to improve the appearance of their smile, it also has functional benefits. Properly aligned teeth make it easier to maintain good oral hygiene, reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease, and can even alleviate jaw pain or headaches caused by misalignment.

In my experience as an orthodontist, I have witnessed the transformative impact that orthodontic treatment can have on a person’s confidence and overall well-being. It is incredibly rewarding to see patients achieve a healthy, beautiful smile and witness the positive impact it has on their lives.

Orthodontists and dentists have different areas of expertise within the field of oral health. Orthodontists specialize in correcting bites and aligning teeth, while dentists provide general oral care. Orthodontic treatment focuses on long-term alignment and positioning of teeth, often involving the use of braces or aligners. The duration of orthodontic treatment is usually longer than a typical dental procedure. The goals of orthodontic treatment include both aesthetic and functional improvements, leading to a healthier smile and improved overall oral health.