What’s the Difference between an Orthodontist and a Dentist?

What’s the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist? - Kansas City - Weber Orthodontics

Orthodontists and dentists both help patients improve their oral health, but in different ways. Dentistry is a broad medical specialty that deals with the teeth, gum, nerves, and jaw, while orthodontics is a specialty within dentistry that focuses on correcting bites, occlusion, and the alignment of teeth. One important difference is that all orthodontists like Dr. Ashlee Weber are dentists, but not all dentists are licensed orthodontists.

How are they similar?

The main similarity between a dentist and orthodontist is that they both focus on oral care. An orthodontist can work in a dental office and provide the same care as a dentist. So in this respect, they are quite similar. They are both considered doctors, and deal with the teeth and gums.

How are they different?

There are more differences than similarities. An orthodontist requires additional schooling as a dental specialty; the situation is similar to a doctor who obtains additional schooling to become a surgeon. Another difference is that orthodontists specialize in helping patients with the alignment of their teeth, improving their bite, or fitting them for corrective braces and devices. If a patient has an overbite, a dentist will refer him or her to an orthodontist.

Dentists typically encourage good oral hygiene and provide services related to:

  • Tooth decay
  • Root canals
  • Gum disease
  • Crowns
  • Bridges
  • Veneers
  • Fillings

Orthodontists are dentists that specialize in the alignment of teeth, and provide services related to:

  • Misaligned teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Spacing between teeth
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Temporomandibular disorders
What an orthodontist can help with

Orthodontists help with crooked teeth, but they assist patients with other issues as well. These include overbites and underbites, crossbites, spaces between teeth, overcrowding of teeth, and the treatment of temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Additional problems with the jaw also need to be treated by an orthodontist.

While a dentist may be trained to provide orthodontic care in addition to extractions, root canals, and fillings, trusting your smile to an orthodontist can better balance the different procedures you require.

To learn more about the difference between dentists and orthodontists, or to schedule an initial consultation with Kansas City orthodontist, Dr. Ashlee Weber, please give our team at Weber Orthodontics a call at our convenient Kansas City office.

2 thoughts on “What’s the Difference between an Orthodontist and a Dentist?

  1. Howard Reed says:

    Thanks for pointing out how a general dentist can help with a lot of the health issues associated with teeth while an orthodontist helps with the shape of the teeth. I am wondering if they are mutually exclusive, and if they can do both. I guess it takes a lot of different training and equipment.

  2. James Harvon says:

    I had this same question as a child. I really liked how dentists were referenced for oral hygiene and orthodontists for teeth alignment. It’s something basic, but not always common knowledge as to how exactly an orthodontist differs. I will be sure and use your explanation once my children need braces or a retainer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *