Orthodontist vs Dentist: What's the Difference?

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Orthodontist vs Dentist: What's the Difference?

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The Canadian Dental Association reports that there are 25,500 licensed dentists in Canada. Of these, about 10% are orthodontic specialists. That’s quite a small number! So, what sets your docbraces orthodontist apart from a regular dentist? And when should you seek out orthodontic treatment? In general, orthodontists and dentists work together to look after your oral health, but when it comes to certain issues it is essential to see an orthodontist to get the best treatment. After all, you wouldn’t go to your family doctor for heart surgery. Similarly, you should visit an orthodontist for certain health concerns over a dentist!It’s a common mistake people tend to make when talking about dental field professionals. Dentists and orthodontists: who’s who and what do they do? They do have their similarities, but that doesn’t mean they’re the same thing, at all. Let’s look into the main elements that make dentists and orthodontists unique.

What is an Orthodontist?

Just like any other dental health professional, orthodontists are dental school graduates. But it doesn’t end there: They go through an orthodontic residency program for two to three years. During that time, they receive intensive instruction on proper and safe tooth movement as well as guidance on dental, jaw, and facial development. After these extra years of education, they become specialists in moving teeth and aligning jaws, and they can officially call themselves orthodontists.

What is a Dentist?

You graduate dental school as a general dentist without the need for any extra years of residency, and you are ready to start performing fillings and extractions, and providing other services such as crowns, veneers, and teeth bonding.

A dentist’s main concern is the overall health of the mouth, and for that, they diagnose and treat any possible oral health issues. They are also in charge of improving the appearance of broken or misshapen teeth and teaching patients how to prevent dental diseases.

Key Differences Between Orthodontists and Dentists

The million-dollar question still remains: What exactly sets orthodontists and dentists apart? Firstly, there’s a difference in each of their academic journeys. As previously mentioned, dentists have to attend university and dental school to get their degree, and so do orthodontists, but these go through a few more years of specific training during their residency at a specialized university program.

The main differences can be seen in the workplace, though. Dentists diagnose and treat conditions involving a patient's teeth and gums, while also providing preventative health care. They perform tasks such as removing decay and filling cavities, repairing or removing damaged teeth, conducting regular checkups and teeth cleanings, ordering and interpreting X-rays, and prescribing antibiotics and other medication.

On the other hand, orthodontists diagnose, prevent, intercept, and treat dental and facial irregularities that are mostly associated with teeth, jawbones, facial bones, and soft tissue. They need a full range of ‘appliances’ that can move teeth, such as braces, aligners, and other devices. As the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) states, orthodontists are uniquely qualified to recommend the most appropriate type of appliance to correct an individual’s problem, and that’s where their focus area is. They use in-person exams as well as 2D or 3D X-rays, photos, and molds of the teeth to create a personalized treatment plan for each and every patient.

When to See an Orthodontist or a Dentist?

Now that you know the differences between dentists and orthodontists, you should know which one to go to for your specific needs. If you suspect you may have a cavity, tooth decay, or gum disease, or you’re concerned about the overall health and hygiene of your mouth, then a dentist’s the right call. But if you have crooked and misaligned teeth, and you worry they may be affecting your ability to chew food or speak properly, please consider scheduling an appointment at docbraces to be assisted by the whole team of orthodontists. This way, you’ll be one step closer to finding the right treatment for you and getting your oral health back.

Orthodontic Treatment for Kids, Teens and Adults

Your age is never an obstacle to getting the right orthodontic treatment. Oral health issues can come up at any point in life, so it’s important to stay on top of your regular check-ups and seek specific healthcare services when needed. Whether it’s orthodontic treatment for a kid’s first smile, a teenager’s laugh, or an adult’s health, docbraces provides quality orthodontic treatment for all patients, regardless of their age.

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