How Orthodontics is Different from Traditional Dental Care

Posted on: September 1, 2016

Orthodonticsstyle=”font-family: Georgia, "Times New Roman", "Bitstream Charter", Times, serif; font-size: 16px;”>We often get calls from patients wanting to know more about Orthodontics and what we do that is different from their dentist. A dentist and an orthodontist both work to help you improve your oral health but do so in very different ways. Some people may not understand the difference between a general dentist and an orthodontist. Dentistry is a very broad scope of health practice that specifically deals with teeth, gums, the jaw bone, and the nerves associated with the mouth. Orthodontics fall within the broad scope of dentistry, focusing more on correcting bites, occlusion, and the straightness of your teeth. It would be correct to say that all orthodontists are also dentists, but not all dentists are orthodontists because of the specialty associated with being one.

One of the critical differences between being an orthodontist and being a general dentist involves education and experience. While many general dentists do offer Orthodontics treatments such as clear aligners after taking a few courses, only an orthodontist is trained to deal with malocclusion, correcting bites, and addressing straightness issues with your teeth. An orthodontist, and not a dentist, has the experience to properly diagnose and plan a treatment for these very specific issues, which is why you should visit our office. Simultaneously, many local area dentists refer to our office to complement the work they are doing for patients.

The confusion that some patients have when it comes to the differences between an orthodontist and a dentist are perfectly understandable. From the perspective of a patient, we both work in the healthcare field, both of us wear white coats, and we both work on teeth.  The majority of dentists have a great relationship with us and know when it is time to send a patient for orthodontic care. Having a close relationship between with a referring dentist allows us to coordinate care. This ensures that you are able to work with both professionals so that you can have the best oral health care provided in both of our offices.

In addition to helping patients with crooked teeth, we can also assist a patient with some other issues. These include helping a patient with overbites, underbites, crossbites, adjusting the spaces between the teeth, overcrowding, and treatment involving the temporomandibular disorders or TMJ. Jawbone issues should also be dealt with by a trained orthodontist. For a quick checklist of the things that we can help you with, here is a cheat sheet.

Orthodontists can help you with:

  • Misaligned teeth. Also known in dental circles as malocclusion, this can have a lasting impact on your smile and the way you chew and process your food
  • Crowded Teeth. Which can make it harder for you to get your teeth properly cleaned, and also take away from your beautiful smile
  • Overbite. When your upper teeth overlap the bottom ones, creating bite issues
  • Underbite. When your lower teeth protrude beyond your upper ones
  • Oral surgery. We also perform extractions and other surgical procedures on a regular basis. This is one reason that dentists refer to our office other than for traditional braces. Since many general dentists do not perform surgery, we can assist with this process

To discuss how we can help you in further detail, schedule an appointment with our office.


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