The Differences Between Orthodontists and Dentists

Orthodontists and dentists both provide care that affects your mouth, but what each profession specializes in offering different treatments that solve very different problems.

The distinction between these two professions is one that most people miss. They may go to a dentist seeking services that only an orthodontist can provide and vice versa.

Understanding the differences between orthodontists and dentists will allow you to receive the best treatment possible for your oral ailments. This can result in a pain-free mouth and a happier smile.

What Does an Orthodontist Do?

Orthodontists specialize in the structure of your mouth. They deal with issues that affect the bones, cartilage and muscles of your jaw. Their cares tend to stick to structural issues that could create cosmetic irregularities or result in pain.

Teeth misalignment, bite alignment, temporomandibular joint dysfunction and crowding are some issues that an orthodontist can treat. These issues originate in the gum and jaw bone, which means that correcting them requires special equipment designed to apply a constant forth to your mouth.

What Does a Dentist Do?

Dentists deal primarily with teeth and oral problems that can be seen. The services offered reflect these practices. They may provide preventative or cosmetic dentistry. These procedures prevent tooth decay, diagnose problems affecting individual teeth and search for oral problems, such as oral cancer, that other specialists may need to treat.

As far as cosmetic dentistry goes, this entails procedures like providing fillings, crowns, root canals and other procedures intended to restore vitality to individual teeth.

The Difference Between Orthodontists and Dentists

As far as visit frequency goes, dentists require more frequent visits than orthodontists. This occurs due to the short-term nature of their procedures.

A crown, for example, may require one visit to prepare a tooth and another later when the crown has been prepared. Cleanings and regular check-up exams typically occur once every three to six months.

Orthodontists will require visits at different intervals. They may schedule appointments to look at orthodontic appliances, to inspect the progress of teeth realignment, and to ensure that new problems do not arise.

Can Orthodontists and Dentists Treat the Same Problems?

As a general rule of thumb, most orthodontists will not treat procedures that dentists do and vice versa. They tend to treat patients who fall within their given area of expertise in an attempt to provide patients with the best service possible.

Some orthodontists may be willing to place crowns or repair minor imperfections with teeth, but they will seldom do as much work as a regular dentist. They will also rarely engage in cosmetic restoration of a patient’s teeth.

Dentists, on the other hand, may specialize in general dentistry and orthodontics. They may be able to provide basic orthodontic services like braces or mouth guards in an attempt to better align their services with the needs of their patients.

For more information, contact the office of Dr. Brodie Bowman today. We will be happy to answer any questions and schedule a consultation.