Difference between orthodontist and dentist

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While dentists and orthodontists are both oral healthcare professionals, they differ in their scope of practice and expertise. In most cases, a general dentist with a special interest in orthodontics would have gone through extra training after graduation to gain knowledge of orthodontic treatment and can provide you with the ideal treatment. However, in some extreme cases, the dentist will refer you to a specialist due to the overall complexity of the case or if jaw surgery is required in combination with the treatment you seek to achieve the desired appearance. Inevitably, consulting with an orthodontist costs much more than seeing a dentist.

The best approach is to find a general dentist you trust and carry out your routine oral cleaning whilst consulting with your dentist regarding your desired cosmetic outcome to align your teeth. At Lumina Dental, our cosmetic dentist will assess your oral health and condition and present various treatment options for you. In some special cases, our dentist will refer you to a reputable orthodontist for your special care. Let’s check out some differences between a general & cosmetic dentist and an orthodontist:

  • A dentist is a licensed healthcare professional who provides a wide range of dental services to diagnose, prevent, and treat oral health problems. These services may include routine cleans, fillings, extractions, root canals, and treatment for gum disease. Dentists also provide cosmetic dental procedures such as teeth whitening, veneers, and orthodontics. Therefore, dentists offer a wide range of dental services.
  • An orthodontist is a specialized dentist who focuses on diagnosing, preventing, and correcting teeth and jaw alignment problems. Orthodontists undergo additional specialist training beyond dental school to become experts in diagnosing and treating malocclusions (improper bites), misaligned teeth, and jaw abnormalities. They use tools such as braces, aligners, and other appliances to straighten teeth, improve bite alignment, and correct jaw problems. They also the proper alignment of teeth in preparation for jaw surgeries for adults.

Types of Treatments:

Dentists (with interests in orthodontic treatment) and orthodontists both provide treatment to correct the alignment of the teeth. However, dentists primarily focus on maintaining general oral health and treating oral health problems, while orthodontists concentrate on correcting teeth and jaw alignment problems.

Some of the common treatments provided by dentists include:
  • Fillings for cavities
  • Root canals to treat infected teeth
  • Tooth extractions
  • Gum disease treatment
  • Cosmetic or functional veneers
  • Teeth whitening
  • Dental implants
  • Orthodontics: Braces, clear aligners (Invisalign), retainers, expanders, headgear
Orthodontists provide a range of treatments to correct complex teeth and jaw alignment problems, including:
  • Braces
  • Aligners, such as Invisalign
  • Palatal expanders
  • Headgear
  • Orthodontics with orthognathic surgery (jaw surgery)

In summary, while dentists and orthodontists share some similarities in their profession, orthodontists are specialists who focus solely on correcting teeth and jaw alignment problems.

When you visit Lumina Dental and consult with our well-experienced cosmetic dentist, it is likely that your desired smile can be achieved with us. However, in some extreme cases, we will refer you to a reputable orthodontist we have worked with due to the extreme complexity of your case. In this way, it will be the most cost-effective method to achieve the best outcome for you.

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