What is the Difference between an Orthodontist and a Dentist?

Orthodontists and dentists both serve similar roles in looking after your oral health, but they do this in different ways. In this article, we look at the similarities and differences between these two disciplines.

Varying Educational Backgrounds

Both dentists and orthodontists have completed 5 years of dental training to obtain a bachelors degree in dentistry. At this stage, you become a qualified dentist but you must then undertake 3 further years of postgraduate study to become a specialist orthodontist . All orthodontists are therefore qualified and trained dentists, but dentists are not qualified in orthodontics which is why your general dentist will refer you to a specialist for orthodontic treatment.

Different Focus of Treatment

This is where the main differences between the two professions lie. Dentistry is a broad discipline which deals with many issues of teeth, gums, nerves and jaws whereas orthodontics focuses on tooth alignment , bite correction and occlusion. Your dentist is focused on improving and maintaining your overall oral health but more severe teeth and jaw problems are dealt with by an orthodontic specialist.

Complementary Practices

Dentists and orthodontists can work together to treat patients. If your regular dentist thinks you need orthodontic work, they will refer you to a specialist and vice versa. You don’t need a referral to go to an orthodontist or a dentist in Brisbane, but when you do get a referral from a professional, you trust you’re going to the right place.

Who Do I Need to See?

If you think of an orthodontist as a specialist for correcting the alignment of your teeth, and a dentist as a caretaker for your overall oral health then it’s simple to work out which professional you need to see. If you have a problem with infection, disease, tooth pain or are looking for cosmetic treatments such as whitening or veneers then your general dentist covers all of these. For braces, Invisalign and other tooth straightening treatments, you’ll need an appointment with an orthodontic specialist.

To find out if orthodontic treatment is the right choice for you, call Tony Weir Orthodontics on 07 3054 6767 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

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