What’s the Difference Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist?

Many people who are seeking a straight smile ask themselves, what is the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist? While orthodontists and dentists both specialize in oral health, they are two separate professions that require different levels of education. 

Learn more about the difference between a dentist and orthodontist and how Black Orthodontics can help you get the smile of your dreams. Schedule a free smile assessment today!

What’s a Dentist?

A dentist is a medical professional who specializes in the health of the teeth, jaw, and gums. They also focus on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental conditions. A dentist has completed eight years of schooling to learn their profession.

Most people see a dentist about two times a year for dental cleaning, which is important for maintaining dental health. Your dentist will let you know if you might benefit from getting orthodontic treatment. A general dentist should never offer orthodontic treatment because they do not have the credentials to deliver results.

What’s an Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a licensed dentist specializing in treating bite malocclusions, such as crowded and gapped teeth, overbites, underbites, or jaw alignment problems. They address these issues with braces, clear aligners, retainers, or other orthodontic devices. 

It takes a total of 10-11 years of education to become an orthodontist. During this time, residents study how to get the finest results with appliances. Orthodontic treatment isn’t a simple A to B process. It takes years of expertise and practice to hone the skills necessary to achieve results with aligners or braces.

Dr. Black has more than 30 years of experience beautifying smiles across the Asheville area. If you’ve been thinking about getting a straighter, healthier smile, schedule a free smile assessment with us!

damon-braces

When to See a General Dentist vs Orthodontist

The biggest difference between a dentist and orthodontist is the dental conditions they treat. A dentist is a general practitioner, whereas an orthodontist is a specialist.

A dentist should be your go-to when getting dental cleanings or treatment for conditions like tooth pain, cavities, repairs, or infections.

An orthodontist is better equipped to fix structural problems of the jaw and teeth, like tooth crowding, gapped teeth, palate expansion, and more.

While some dentists offer orthodontic treatment, you should only trust a certified orthodontist with your smile. Only an orthodontist will understand how to use braces or aligner therapy to help you achieve your best possible smile. 

Girl patient sitting in the dentist's office

We’re Here for All of Your Orthodontic Needs

Orthodontists and dentists both focus on promoting dental health and treating oral health conditions. Orthodontists are distinctive because they specialize in fixing the structure of your jaw and teeth. Getting treatment from a certified orthodontist ensures that you get a functionally healthy, beautiful smile.

If you’re in the Asheville area and curious about getting a more natural smile, ask your dentist to refer you to Black Orthodontics. We can’t wait to help you achieve your smile goals! Schedule your free smile assessment today.