What is the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?
An orthodontist is first a dentist. After completing four years of dental school, orthodontic specialists will then complete an additional two to three year accredited residency program focusing exclusively on not only aligning the teeth, but also bite correction and function. An orthodontist has the expertise to offer a full range of treatment.
While a general dentist may offer one or two options for aligning teeth, this is not their specialty, and they may not be able to accommodate the patient’s needs in order to achieve the best results. A general dentist is trained to handle all aspects of dentistry, and may not be able to give your case the focus it deserves.
An orthodontist will select the correct treatment based on all available options and what will best suit the patient’s individual goals for their smile and lifestyle. An orthodontist also has knowledge of new and emerging treatments and technologies that you won’t find at your dentist’s office.
Orthodontists are better equipped to handle more complex cases, especially when bite and function are an issue. They can also best handle cases where early intervention might benefit a child in order to capitalize on growth patterns.