Orthodontist Versus Dentist

Orthodontist Versus Dentist, what's the difference?

People frequently ponder about the distinction between an orthodontist and a dentist. While both professionals are accountable for the maintenance of your oral health and teeth, there are evident disparities in their approaches. Many individuals assume that the sole distinction between a dentist and an orthodontist lies in the latter’s involvement with braces. This perception stems from the fact that orthodontists specialize in addressing teeth alignment concerns and enhancing a patient’s dental occlusion. To enhance your comprehension of the significance and objectives of each, we have delineated the dissimilarity between these two practitioners.

What is the Main Difference Between an Orthodontist and a Dentist?

You visit a dentist once every six months for teeth cleaning and to maintain oral health. However, have you ever considered the role of orthodontists? Both dentists and orthodontists contribute to oral health, albeit through distinct methods. A dentist is a medical professional who specializes in taking  care of your teeth, gums, nerves and the jaw. Orthodontists, on the other hand, are also dentists, but they specialize in correcting bites, occlusion (the way teeth come together) and alignment of teeth.

What Does a Dentist Do?

So basically, dentists are healthcare professionals who are committed to maintain optimal health by preventing, diagnosing, and treating oral diseases and conditions. It also falls within the boundaries of their duties to detect early signs of oral cancer and other systemic illnesses that may present symptoms in the mouth. Dentists are trained to recognize various health issues that may manifest in the oral cavity before becoming apparent in other areas of the body.

  • The oral health and disease prevention of their patients are assessed by evaluating their overall well-being.
  • Conducts medical procedures, including examinations, dental fillings, dental crowns, dental implants, tooth extractions, and corrective surgeries.
  • Identifies, assesses, and manages oral health issues.
  • Provides routine dental care or specializes in one of nine dental fields.
What Does an Orthodontist Do?

What Does an Orthodontist Do?

An orthodontist is a dental professional who has received specialized training in treating abnormalities in teeth and jaw alignment. They not only address current issues but also possess the expertise to identify potential problems that may arise in the future. Orthodontists cater to individuals across all age groups, ranging from children to adults.

Orthodontic specialists utilize both fixed and removable dental appliances such as braces, retainers, and bands to correct the alignment of teeth within the oral cavity. This type of treatment is designed to address various dental irregularities, including:

  • Crooked teeth
  • Bite problems, like an overbite or an underbite
  • Crowded teeth or teeth that are too far apart
  • Jaw misalignment

The objective of orthodontic therapy is to enhance the alignment of your bite. Properly aligned teeth that are straight and evenly spaced will match up with the opposing teeth in your jaw. A well-aligned bite guarantees that you can eat, chew, and speak effectively. Although orthodontists are commonly associated with children or teenagers requiring braces, they are capable of addressing dental issues in individuals of any age.

Orthodontist vs Dentist: What's the Difference?

Orthodontist vs Dentist: What’s the Difference?

Although being a dentist or an orthodontist may look all the same to the public, and while they may have many things in common and be essentially the same, they have important differences which, when it comes to your treatment, would make all the differences. Take a look below to find out more about orthodontist vs dentist:


  • A general dentist provides care for your oral health just as your GP provides care for your overall health. They are highly trained professionals who can diagnose and treat various issues and common ailments that impact your teeth, mouth, and gums.
  • Dentists have completed a General Dental Degree.
  • You could say that dentists handle the more general stuff which requires less professionalism.
  • When in need, they refer you to the person who specializes in what you need, which in this case, is an orthodontist.


  • Orthodontists are dental specialists who are registered and have undergone an additional three years of intensive specialist training in orthodontics at a recognized university. They possess both a General Dental Degree and a Specialist Orthodontic Degree, which shows their expertise in the field.
  • Orthodontists have specialized knowledge in dental growth and development. Their expertise lies in the diagnosis and treatment of misaligned teeth, malocclusions, and jaws that are not properly aligned.
  • Orthodontists possess expertise in providing a comprehensive range of orthodontic treatment options, catering to both children and adults.


Dentists and orthodontists are both healthcare professionals specializing in diagnosing and treating oral health issues. Orthodontists have specific certifications for certain procedures that dentists do not. Orthodontists undergo specialized training that enables them to apply braces and identify jaw misalignment. If you are unsure about the need to consult an orthodontist, you can begin by inquiring with your dentist about obtaining a referral.


Is an orthodontist the same as a dentist?

Actually no, but depending on your needs, it can be a yes. Both dentists and orthodontists undergo the same basic training. As a result, they both can handle the general oral healthcare stuff. Orthodontists, however, are those dentists who decided they wanted to be more professional and have continued their studies, which means now they are eligible for professional treatments and procedures that the dentists are not.

Why do dentists refer to orthodontists?

As I have pointed out earlier, both dentists and orthodontists have completed the same general course. It means that dentists might be able to detect if there is something wrong with your oral health. However, taking into account they have not completed any specialized course, they refer you to an orthodontist – in case your problem relates to one – and the orthodontist will determine what your problem is and what treatment you should be receiving.

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