What’s The Difference Between A Dentist And Orthodontist?

Dentists and orthodontists are both doctors who specialize in oral healthcare, however, there is a big difference between the two in terms and what kind of care they can provide.

For some context, it helps to understand that while all orthodontists are dentists, not all dentists all orthodontists. Both have to attend medical school and postgraduate dental training, however, orthodontists receive an extra two or three years of education through a residency program. In other words, orthodontists are highly specialized dentists who focus on a specific area of expertise.

What Defines A Dentist?

Just like any doctor, dentists are highly skilled individuals who’ve trained extensively to provide people with the care they need. They’re essentially doctors who specialize in oral health, being qualified to diagnose and treat problems with a person’s teeth, gums, tongue, and mouth. Most dentists (about 80%) practice what’s known as general dentistry, meaning they take on the most common dental issues such as cavities, gum disease, tooth extractions, and others. In some cases, there are structural issues within a person’s mouth that general dentists aren’t qualified to manage on their own, which is when they will most likely refer someone to an orthodontist.

What Defines An Orthodontist?

A small percentage of dentists are orthodontists. What sets them apart is that they specialize in the alignment of the teeth and jawbone. One of the things they’re known best for is installing corrective orthodontic appliances such as braces or retainers. While these are some of the most common reasons for people to see an orthodontist, it’s only part of what they do. Orthodontists also monitor facial growth, diagnose misalignments in the teeth and jaws, perform corrective surgery, and more. In other words, when there’s an issue related to the alignment of a person’s teeth and jaw, orthodontists are the specialists who can be relied on.

Orthodontic Services in Alliston

At Alliston Orthodontics & Oral Surgery, we offer a multidisciplinary approach that’s comprehensive and affordable. Dr. Shapiro has been a certified orthodontist since 2002, meaning he has nearly two decades of experience practicing his specialty. If you’re wondering how braces or Invisalign could benefit your oral health, please fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation! If you have immediate questions or inquiries, call or text us at (705) 435-1315.