Dentist vs Orthodontist: Who Does What?

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Every field has specialties and subcategories, and one people often wonder about is dentist vs orthodontist. They both improve your oral health and keep your mouth presenting nicely but, there are a few important similarities and differences to cover. Before deciding which one you need or consulting everyone on the “dentistry and orthodontics near me” list, let’s go over what each profession brings to your oral health as well as how they are similar and different.

What is a Dentist?

It’s best to start when discussing a dentist vs orthodontist, with the profession we’re most familiar with: dentistry. A dentist is charged with the general care of your oral health and is the equivalent to how your primary care physician looks after your overall care. Without doing their profession any disservice, the dentist is closer to a jack of all trades. Someone who knows quite a bit about all aspects of oral health without being an expert in any.

A dentist is someone you turn to for check-ups, they can diagnose oral diseases, repair cavities and pull teeth, apply crowns, veneers, bondings, and give advice on at-home oral health routines. They can also recommend when you need to see a specialist and communicate with them as part of your overall care, just like your primary physician would.

What is an Orthodontist?

An orthodontist provides services related to your jaw and teeth alignment, though they can do what a dentist is able to. What they are most known for is installing and maintaining care for braces. When it comes to dentists vs orthodontists, teenagers are far more familiar with the latter.

The orthodontist isn’t a medical professional you’d see throughout your life as you would a dentist, they are specialists who are only for those in need of the specific service they’re trained to provide. So, if you’ve never had or never need braces then you’ll probably never need to see an orthodontist. Don’t call an orthodontist if your teeth hurt unless they put braces on you, or if you have a broken crown. They aren’t the oral health professionals needed in such cases even if they were trained to fix them.

How are a Dentist and Orthodontist similar?

You have the general run down for the dentist vs orthodontist question but, how are they similar? The most important thing to note is that they both have degrees in dentistry, just like how every doctor has an M.D. An orthodontist is trained to do everything a dentist can do and they both went through all the same training. If you’re wondering whether they are both doctors or one has a lesser degree than the other, don’t worry, both dentists and orthodontists are doctors just as your general practitioner, as well as a surgeon you may need, are both doctors.

How are a Dentist and Orthodontist similar?

How are Orthodontist and Dentist different?

Where the difference lies, in the dentist vs orthodontist conversation, is primarily in post-doctoral education. In some states, a dentist can go into practice right after graduation and in others, a residency is required. An orthodontist, on the other hand, has to do a residency that lasts 2-3 years before they can begin practicing. The reason orthodontists have to do so much more is that they are practicing a specific aspect of dentistry and have to learn their area much more in-depth than a dentist would. While both can notice and fix cavities, a dentist wouldn’t be able to administer braces or know the ins and outs of jaw misplacement like an orthodontist would.

Think of it this way, you wouldn’t go to your general practitioner for heart-surgery even though they’re a doctor. Like how a dentist would recommend when to see an orthodontist, a doctor would be able to advise that you see a cardiologist because they know enough to see there is a problem that calls for a specialist.

Again, the difference lies in expertise vs general practitioner and all the other distinctions with dentist vs orthodontist stems from that.

Dentistry and Orthodontics Near Me

Dentistry and Orthodontics Near Me that you know the primary differences between a dentist and an orthodontist, it’s time to look for one. The best way to find an orthodontist near you is through your dentist, as they will also be working with them. If you’re starting from scratch and getting ready to read the “dentistry and orthodontics near me” results, always look at the reviews and call for consultations. Another pro-tip, if you think you may need an orthodontist for yourself or your kids then stick to dental offices that have an orthodontist on staff. The more in-house a great dentist office is the better for your budget and convenience. Actually, that goes for any family dental office.

If you are looking for a dentist in Milton Freewater, Walla Walla or the surrounding areas our staff can help you with the processes. Find the right care for you, be healthy and happy.