What are the Differences Between an Orthodontist and a Dentist?


If you are wondering if there is a difference in the services provided by a dentist versus those provided by an orthodontist, we will try to clear that up in this article. The orthodontist at John Redmond Orthodontics offers complete orthodontic care by providing braces, appliances, invisalign, and other specialized plans to give you your best smile. The services we provide as opposed to dental services are detailed below.

Primary Differences Between an Orthodontist and a Dentist

Dentists work to keep their patient’s teeth and mouth healthy. This is accomplished through regular cleanings and exams. Dentists use restorative treatments to repair chipped teeth and fix cavities. Minor oral surgery such as root canals, crowns and caps are also done in the dentist’s office. Other treatment options that can be accomplished by a dentist include:

  • Teeth whitening
  • Veneers
  • Root canals
  • Implants
  • Dentures
  • Some dentists offer orthodontic treatment

Orthodontists possess the same education as a dentist with an additional few years of professional education, specifically in the area of orthodontics. Orthodontists work primarily to improve their patient’s smile, focusing on straightening teeth, aligning the jaw, and improving the bite. 

If some dentists offer orthodontic treatment as well, what is the advantage of using an orthodontist?

Orthodontists specialize in orthodontics treatment. Most orthodontists keep up-to-date with the latest advances in treatment because they focus on not only straightening teeth, but taking into account and resolving issues with overbites, underbites, crowding, and jaw expansions.  What may seem to you to be a simple fix by braces could actually also involve manipulating the jaw or specialized orthodontic treatment that the dentist may just not be as comfortable handling. 

What does orthodontic treatment entail?

Your first visit to an orthodontist may include a panoramic X-ray along with an oral exam followed by a consultation with either the orthodontist or their treatment planning specialist. A treatment plan will be presented, including details of the types of braces, appliances, expected timeframe, and costs. A discussion concerning the patient’s role in the progression of the treatment will also be discussed. The commitment and cooperation of the patient is key to a successful treatment plan.

The type of treatment will depend on what needs to be corrected to achieve the desired result. For example, prior to getting the braces put on the patient may need to have an appliance to expand their upper jaw installed. Spacers may need to be used to save space where adult teeth have not yet grown in. And there may be times where the doctor may want to wait until certain teeth are in before beginning treatment. 

A good San Clemente, CA orthodontics office like John Redmond Orthodontics understands the needs of each patient are different and designs a treatment plan around their particular requirements. The amount of times you visit us could be a few months to several years. We want this time to not only result in a beautiful smile, but we come to know our patients and treat them like family. Give us a call today and see how we can help.