The Difference Between a Dentist and Orthodontist

by | Aug 30, 2017 | Dental Care

Oral health is as serious as your overall health. However, there are different oral specialists you can see in regards to major and minor issues. How are you supposed to know when to go to a dentist or a specialist such as an orthodontist? Well, understanding the difference between the two will guide you in the right direction.

Now, a dentist and Porter Ranch orthodontist are similarly educated. Both require a bachelor’s degree before applying to dental school. Once there, they both complete a four-year doctoral program. Once graduating, a dentist will earn a D.D.S. (doctor of dental surgery) or a D.M.D. (doctor of dental medicine). If a dentist wishes to become an orthodontist, they have to serve an approximate three-year residency at an approved university; they will have their Master of Science degree along with their dentistry degree.

Job of a Dentist

With similar medical backgrounds, the question of whether to go to a dentist or orthodontist can still be tricky. Typically, a dentist will take care of your overall oral health care. They diagnose and treat any minor issues with your mouth with routine dental work such as x-rays, check-ups, and cleanings.
There is a list of treatments dentists will offer that an orthodontist won’t. These include:

  • Root canals
  • Fillings
  • Crowns
  • Teeth whitening
  • Veneers
  • Bridges

Generally, this is the scope of a dentist’s work. Any other major issues will require another oral specialist, such as an orthodontist.

Job of an Orthodontist

Orthodontists, such as those from Porter Ranch orthodontist, specialize in aligning the teeth and jaw through non-surgical procedures. They will solve issues such as bad bites (over or under), gaps, or overcrowded teeth. There are various treatments an orthodontist can perform to straighten teeth:

  • Retainers
  • Braces
  • Wires

Orthodontists are usually not housed with general dentists. Normally, a dentist will refer you to an orthodontist if they see a problem that could be considered major in the future. It is not required to see an orthodontist for general cleanings and check-ups, unless you have had major issues that have been previously seen by one.

The general well-being of your mouth and teeth should be as important to you as the health of the rest of your body. By taking care of your teeth, you will be less likely at risk for more serious dental problems. By knowing the difference between a dentist and orthodontist you will know who to see for your oral problems.

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