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Orthodontist vs. Dentist

For most parts of the body, there is a single name for the doctor or physician that can help with its general care. This is where taking care for your teeth can get confusing.

As you may know, there are two different kinds of specialists for tooth care. These are dentists and orthodontists. At Grace and Bowman Orthodontics, Dr. Brodie Bowman is an orthodontist offering treatment to patients of all ages. To schedule your appointment at Grace and Bowman Orthodontics, contact us today.

As aforementioned, orthodontists and dentists both assist their patients in improving their oral health– but they do so in different manners.

Dentists are mainly concerned with the teeth, jaw, gums, and nerves, while orthodontists can be considered to be part of a subset within dentistry that makes its focus upon the straightness of teeth, correcting bites and occlusion. In other words, all orthodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are licensed orthodontists.

Symptoms and treatments that a dentist will typically deal with include: root canals, gum disease, tooth decay, bridges, crowns, veneers, and teeth whitening.

Symptoms and treatments that an orthodontist will typically deal with include: crowded or misaligned teeth, underbite, and overbite.


Dentistry has a long history. It is thought to have a prehistoric origin in the Indus Valley Civilization of 7,000 BC. The first dentist in recorded history was an Egyptian man named Hesy-Re around 2,600 BC. In subsequent centuries, the Egyptians and Romans would make varied advances in the development of dentistry.

Dentistry really began to take off in the 18th century. French surgeon Pierre Fauchard wrote the seminal work The Surgeon Dentist, A Treatise on Teeth in 1723. It outlined a system for comprehensive dentistry, including oral anatomy and function. The first American dentist, John Baker, emigrated from England to the United States in 1760.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, advances such as the reclining dental chair, amalgam, Novocain, and tube toothpaste were founded. The first dental hygienist was accredited in Connecticut in 1917.

Orthodontics has a very recent history, being a specialty within dentistry. The first organization concerning orthodontics, the American Board of Orthodontics, was founded in 1930. The concern with having straight teeth and a good bite has gone back centuries, but braces– the main appliances used in orthodontics– weren’t created until much later.

Orthodontics are no more or less important than dentistry– they are just different manners in which to take care of your teeth. Practice good habits, and you can often avoid major work.