Taking care of your dental health takes a village of professionals for assessment, treatment, maintenance, and monitoring. If you think your dentist can handle every procedure you need to take care of your mouth, well, think again. We have different dental specialists who can perform more complex dental services since they have more training and experience when it comes to their area of specialization. There are various fields of dental expertise, like endodontic, periodontic, orthodontic, and restorative procedures and treatments. One of these notable specialists is an orthodontist. What do orthodontists do, and what is the difference between an orthodontist and dentist?
What is an orthodontist?
Orthodontists are dental specialists who focus their profession in correcting our teeth and jaw alignment. If your dental problems arise from having overcrowded or crooked teeth, jaw misalignment, or wrong bite, then an orthodontist is the professional that you should consult.
What orthodontic care and procedures can he perform?
An orthodontist recommends procedures and treatments that aim to align your teeth and jaws. Common orthodontic care procedures include getting traditional braces (metal, ceramic, lingual), dental aligners (invisible braces like Invisalign or ClearCorrect), and other orthodontic services.
Can a general dentist perform orthodontic procedures?
The reality is, even if there are dental specialists who are supposed to solely perform complex or specialized procedures and treatments, there are still general dentists who offer these procedures despite their lacking specialty. For instance, a general dentist has the ethical responsibility to refer a patient if he assesses that there is a need to have orthodontic treatment to address a complaint. However, some general dentists, without any specialization in orthodontics, would offer their services to perform the use of braces or dental aligners to correct their teeth alignment and bite.
The difference between orthodontist and dentist
Let us keep track of the real score between a general dentist and a dental specialist like an orthodontist.
Both professionals are degree holders in the field of dentistry. The only edge that orthodontists have is that they have further studies to concentrate and focus their profession in orthodontics. General dentists, after finishing dental school, starts working and practicing their profession, while orthodontists still have to attend a residency program. This is the reason why it is still preferred to rely on orthodontists for teeth straightening procedures since they have the proper training and knowledge regarding the treatment.
Type of work
Do not get us wrong; you still need the services of a general dentist while having your orthodontic procedure. For instance, you would still need to have your teeth cleaned and polished while wearing braces, so your orthodontist may recommend you to see your dentist once in a while to preserve the health and cleanliness of your teeth.
Type of treatments offered
Your general dentists are in charge of your overall dental health, so the basic procedures that you would need to preserve the health of your smile are their responsibility. These procedures include gum care, dental cleaning, fillings, crowns, cosmetic dentistry (veneers, teeth whitening, dentures, etc.).
On the other hand, your orthodontist’s focus is to straighten your teeth and correct your jaw alignment. The services and treatments they can offer, as mentioned earlier, include braces, dental aligners, jaw or palate expanders, retainers, and other orthodontic appliances.
Cost of services
You may be well aware the dental procedures are never cheap. All dental treatments can be very expensive depending on the severity of your condition. However, if the regular dental procedures and treatments are costly, you can expect that orthodontic procedures are more expensive. Likewise, since orthodontists are considered specialists compared to general dentists, their professional fees are higher than expected. This is the very reason why dentists take advantage of patients who would want to get braces but do not have enough money to seek the services of an orthodontist. General dentists offer their services far more affordable than the specialists, making them the go-to persons rather than the experts.
We hope that we have helped you distinguish the difference between orthodontist and dentist. These two professionals may have different services to offer, but they can also work together to help maintain the health and beauty of your smile.