The Difference Between an Orthodontist & a Dentist

When you need dental care, it is vital that you receive treatment from the right professional.


Both orthodontists and dentists have a vital role in keeping our teeth healthy; however, there are some differences between the two professions.

Below are some of the differences:

Educational Background

Both dentists and orthodontist must first earn a bachelor’s degree in a medical field before applying to dental school. If accepted they both complete a four-year doctoral program where they earn a D.D.S (doctor of dental surgery) or D.M.D (doctor of dental medicine).  To become an orthodontist, however, a dentist must serve a two-three year residency at an American Dental Association approved program. After the residency, the orthodontist is certified by the American Board of Orthodontics, the only orthodontic board recognized by the American Dental Association. Also, they can apply for membership at the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), an orthodontists member body created in 1900. The association represents over 19,000 orthodontists in the U.S, Canada and abroad.

Specialty & Scope of Treatment

So which of the two will you need for your teeth? A dentist can diagnose, treat and manage overall dental healthcare. This includes regular checkups, X-rays, and cleanings. They can also repair problematic teeth, fill cavities and make denture models. On the flipside, an orthodontist specializes in teeth alignment using non-surgical procedures. They diagnose and treat overbites, underbites, gaps, and overcrowded teeth.

Finally, while both can advise you on good oral hygiene, it is vital to seek treatment from the right specialist for proper diagnosis.

At Perfect Smiles Orthodontics, we are committed to affording you quality orthodontic solutions. We specialize in digital imaging, Invisalign, adult, early and adolescent orthodontic care, braces, and retention. Get in touch with us today for more information.

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