Dentist vs. Orthodontist – What’s The Difference?

Your Calgary Dentists and orthodontists are very similar professions. Both are here to improve your oral health, maintain your teeth in great shape and give you a perfect and beautiful smile. The main difference between these two professions is the field of work and how long they trained for their position.  

Dentists take care of oral health issues such as cavities, gum disease, jaw and nerves, broken and missing teeth. On the other hand, orthodontists only do orthodontics, and they are the most reliable when it comes to straightening your teeth, correcting bites, and occlusion.

Every orthodontist is a dentist but not every dentist is an orthodontist. This means that orthodontists are dentists that continued their training for an additional three years in an accredited university focused only on tooth and jaw alignment.

Main Differences Between Dentists And Orthodontists?

The best thing you can do for your dental health is to visit both dentists and orthodontists regularly. But In order to make informed decisions regarding treatment, it’s important for you to know a few key differences between orthodontists and dentists.

Dentists

Dentists complete a general dental degree, and they are similar to your general practitioner; he is in charge of your overall dental care. Dentists are not trained in putting on braces or working with aligners.

They will deal with things like:

  • Extraction of the tooth that is beyond saving
  • Dental cleaning
  • Root canals
  • Gum disease
  • Crowns – Larger cavities or fractures can be restored using a crown that is placed over the entire tooth.
  • Bridges – Dentists can use a porcelain bridge to restore an area missing one or two teeth.
  • Fillings – A smaller tooth decays can be restored with a tooth-colored resin composite filling.
  • Teeth whitening 

Your dentist will always check inside your mouth for signs of oral diseases and give you advice on how to maintain your oral health. In case he spots a problem that he isn’t qualified to treat, he is the one who will refer you to a dental specialist or adequate physician.

Orthodontists

Orthodontists complete a general dental degree, then they are required to finish a three-year specialist degree. They specialize in facial growth, dental developments, aligning the jaws, and moving the teeth. This means in practice that orthodontists offer treatments such as :

  • Misaligned teeth
  • Correcting crowded teeth
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Crossbite
  • Clear aligners and braces
  • Correcting gaps between teeth, 
  • Correcting teeth that stick out 
  • Correcting jaw alignment

Regular dental checkups and interventions can significantly reduce the need for orthodontic treatment. It’s also recommended that all children before age 7 visit an orthodontist and see if braces will be needed. 

When To See A Dentist vs. Orthodontist 

Now that you know that both dentists and orthodontists have an extensive educational background and that orthodontists are more specialized with higher education, you are good to go and decide which one you need for your dental issue? 

Well, wrong, both dentists and orthodontists play a valuable role in keeping your teeth healthy and looking good, but how to recognize which one you need and who to call, an orthodontist or a dentist?

Well, in case you have a toothache, or you suspect you might have developed a cavity, you should schedule a visit at your general dentist. In case you suspect your teeth are misaligned, or you already have an orthodontic appliance that needs repair, you will need to visit an orthodontist. Any jaw issues that you may doubt should be addressed by your general dentist first. Then they will determine which dental specialist you should visit.

Outcome

Never take your oral health lightly; your mouth is a gateway to overall health, so take it seriously. Of course, you will look better by taking care of your teeth, having a perfectly white smile. Still, more importantly, you will keep as many of your natural teeth, avoid periodontal disease and other mouth diseases. 

These dental issues can lead to even more significant problems like obesity, malnutrition, and even heart disease. So make a habit of visiting your general dentist every time you suspect something is wrong with your teeth; he will refer you to a dental specialist according to the current situation. 

You may only need an orthodontist for the duration of your orthodontic treatment, but your general dentist is there for you every time you have a dental crisis.

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