Orthodontist vs. Dentist

Orthodontist vs. Dentist

Dentists and orthodontists alike both look after your mouth and help to ensure that you have a great small, there is a pretty big difference between the two.  All orthodontists started out as dentists but they went on to further their orthodontist training and specialized their practice.  An orthodontist will deal exclusively with the branch of dental care that corrects crooked and irregular teeth either through braces or an Invisalign device.

How to become an Orthodontist

After dental school graduation most dentists will go work in a general practice where they perform the dental services that they learned how to do in dental school.  They will perform regular checkups and fillings, extractions and root canals among other services.  An orthodontist chooses to further their education and specialize, that takes an additional couple of years of training and education.  This allows them to understand and diagnose dental problems and alignment issues with your jaw.  It takes almost 10 years of education to become an orthodontist, these dentists are committed to what they do.  Here is what it takes to become an orthodontist.

Do I need to see both a dentist and an orthodontist?

Actually yes you will have to see both. While an orthodontist can technically treat other dental issues most will choose to commit to their specialty instead.  That means your orthodontist isn’t going to clean your teeth nor will they fill in your cavities.  They will often request that you see a general dentist for those type of issues.  Your orthodontist can refer you to a local dentist or vice versa.  Proper alignment of your teeth is more important to your health that just having a great smile.

My dentist offers Invisalign, do I still need an orthodontist?

There will be the occasional dentist that has taken some classes on Invisalign or Fastbraces but those are basically some weekend classes and it doesn’t make up for an extra two years of training.  Invisalign may be a great option for you if you have a simple misalignment but more serious problems need more treatment than that.  Even if you only have an initial consultation with an orthodontist they are best qualified to tell you exactly what you need.

Finding an Orthodontist

Finding a nearby orthodontist is as simple as a Google search, or you can ask friends and colleagues for a referral.  Chances are pretty good that you already know someone who had braces and they can tell you what they like about their orthodontist.

How Do Braces Work

Have you ever wondered how do braces work?  How is all the metal and elastics in your mouth going to straighten your teeth?  Before you got the braces put in you probably had crooked teeth, a large overbite or some other issued the dentist determined needed help.  Your dentist referred you to an orthodontist to help fix this issue and straighten your teeth.  So how are they going to help you get a toothpaste smile.

Parts of Your Braces

There are just a couple of basic parts to your braces so let’s go over them now.  The metal portion of your braces that are attached to each tooth is call the bracket.  The orthodontist will use a bonding treatment to hold the brackets in place.  The brackets are attached to each other with archwires.  Archwires are thin metal pieces that give the pressure that will eventually move your teeth.  There are also elastics that are changed every time you go to the orthodontist to get your braces tightened.  Here is what it looks like to have your braces installed.

How Braces Work

During your treatment all the parts of your braces work together to move your teeth into the right spot.  The wire and elastics work together to create a gentle pressure, this makes the membranes on one side of your teeth expand and constrict on the other.  That helps to loosen your teeth away from the gumline so they can move to the right spit.  Don’t worry, the bone grows back and your teeth will be just fine in the new location.  The archwire that runs from tooth to tooth is there to act as a guide for where your teeth should go.

Bear in mind that this happens very slowly, most people have braces on anywhere up to two years.   If you try and force your teeth to move too fast then you risk actually losing them.  Once your teeth reach the spot they are supposed to be in then the membrane and the bone will fill in to support them.  This whole process is referred to by orthodontists as remodeling.  It starts almost as soon as the braces are places on your teeth and once they reach the right spot it will take roughly 3 months for the bone and membranes to grow in.

The amount of time you have your braces on will depend on the condition of your teeth.  It won’t necessarily be the same length of time as other friends and family that already had braces on.  Everyone has different teeth placement and bone structure, so don’t be discouraged if you have braces on a little bit longer.

What is Orthodontics

What is Orthodontics?

What is Orthodontics?

The field of orthodontics is a specialty that deals with your tooth movements and the development of the face.  Orthodontists are there for patients who need to have their teeth moved.  The move could be purely for cosmetic reasons or their teeth may be so misaligned there are problems with speaking and eating.  There are a plethora of benefits that come with fixing your crooked teeth and they include fixing your bite, making it far easier to keep your teeth clean and it can improve your overall appearance.  A beautiful smile is a confident smile!  Before you start your orthodontic treatments you should have an idea of what to expect.

Getting Started

Once your own dentist has determined that you need the services of an orthodontist he will give you a referral and you will have an appointment with the orthodontist.  During the first appointment you will have a complete dental exam that will include x-rays, and molds of your teeth and bite.  They will discuss your dental and medical history in order to determine the course of treatment.

Conditions an Orthodontist Treats

There are a bunch of different conditions that may require you to see an orthodontist.  Overbites, buck teeth and crooked teeth can all be treated by an orthodontist.  The will also help those whose bottom teeth are sticking out too far, along with spacing between your teeth, braces can help push these teeth into alignment.  If you have crowding because your jaw is too small for your teeth then you will need to see an orthodontist as well.  Whether your issue is caused by your teeth or with your jaw it is the orthodontist who can help fix it.


An orthodontist can use a variety of devices to straighten your teeth, it could be a retainer, braces or palatal expanders.  They may also choose to do a specific procedures after looking at your xrays and examining your teeth.  Your orthodontist will choose the best option for your budget and condition.  However the most common treatment that orthodontists do are braces.  These will consist of wires, bands and brackets that are fixed to your teeth.  Most people have their braces tightened on a bi-weekly or monthly basis.  This helps to move your teeth into the right position.  There are also invisible braces that you can opt for along with clear aligners.  Invisible aligners can take less time than traditional braces but they will cost more.

Seeing an orthodontist for many people is about more than having a good smile.  Oftentimes it is the orthodontist who fixes problems with your jaw and your bite.