What is the difference between a Dentist and an Orthodontist?
Orthodontists and dentists both help their patients improve their oral health, but in different ways. While a dentist focuses on a broader scope of services to treat diseases of the teeth, gums, nerves, and jaws, orthodontists focus specifically on the alignment of the teeth and jaws as well as creating balance and harmony with the surrounding orofacial structures. Both dentists and orthodontists must first complete dental school, but orthodontists then complete an additional 2-3 years of training in an orthodontic residency where they focus solely on the practice of orthodontics. After a formal education is obtained, both dentists and orthodontists continue to learn and keep up with the continually evolving dental field by attending continuing education courses. Some dentists choose to attend orthodontic continuing education courses, typically held over a weekend, and the level of additional training and experience will vary from dentist to dentist. The important distinction is that all orthodontists are dentists, but only 6% of dentists are orthodontists. Dentists typically encourage good oral hygiene and typically provide services related to: Tooth decay Root canals Gum disease Crowns Bridges Veneers Teeth whitening Orthodontists are dentists that specialize in the alignment of teeth, and typically provide services related to: Misaligned teeth Crowded teeth Spacing Overbite Underbite First and foremost, when choosing any provider for any healthcare service, always make sure you are comfortable with your doctor and the level of training he/she has with the service you desire.