What is the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist?

We get questions all the time about the difference between dentists and orthodontists. It’s a great question! We think the answer is pretty simple, too. Both dentists and orthodontists have either a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry) which are pretty much the same degree. In both of these degrees, the doctors learn the ins and outs of dental medicine and do all kinds of practical learning to become dentists. After completing the degree and licensing, a dentist may choose to specialize in a particular field. This is no different from the medical school graduate who chooses cardiology as a specialty. It requires more education and expertise, so an orthodontist goes on to do that training. Once it is complete, the orthodontist is licensed to practice orthodontics. Pretty simple! At least on paper, that is. Dentists and orthodontists work together to make sure that your whole mouth is in tip-top shape through your regular check-ups, cleanings, and repairs that dentists do to the moving of teeth with braces and other treatments that orthodontists perform. It’s a great relationship through which their teamwork means a healthier you. We love it! Almost always a patient will come to see an orthodontist because of this relationship. 

How do I know when to see a dentist or an orthodontist? 

You may go in for a first-time appointment or over time the dentist has noticed a problem that may have to be addressed by an orthodontist. Your dentist will tell you that you need to see an orthodontist and will probably refer you to one that your dentist trusts. After that, you’ll take that referral and set up an appointment with that orthodontist. Other times, people may notice that, while they have no cavities and broken teeth and while they have good overall oral health, they just don’t like the way they look when they smile. They might start looking around to see what they can do about that. There are a lot of options, some much better than others, but that initial interest in having a smile that makes one feel good is what leads people to see an orthodontist. 

Are there any food restrictions during Invisalign treatment?

Once you have had a chance to decide on an orthodontist and have your first appointment, it’s probably true that you’ll have a few different options for treatment. You’ll have to think through all the variables that matter to you. One of them might be, what foods can I not eat if I try, say, braces? If you’re someone who isn’t super interested in dietary restrictions you might be interested in Invisalign. Invisalign are clear plastic aligners that do the same kind of work that traditional bracket and wire braces do. The difference is that when it is time to eat, you pop your clear aligner out, put it in its case, and eat whatever you want! You don’t have to worry about affecting wires or brackets, so you can eat whatever you feel like, brush your teeth and your aligner, and put it back in. It’s so simple and convenient, and it won’t disrupt your life much at all.

Ready to Get Started?

If you think you’re ready to meet with an orthodontist, we would love to consult with you and see if we’re the right fit for you. We have a great website with plenty of information on all the treatment options we offer. Spend some time reading about our practice and the treatments we offer. If you think of any questions that we don’t address, feel free to ask us. We would love to answer your questions. When you think you’re ready for that next step, start a Virtual Consult. This is a quick and contactless way of starting an initial consultation. Just take a couple of pictures with your smartphone and our orthodontist will get back with you to schedule and in person appointment so that you can begin the journey to a smile you feel great about.

This site’s strategy, design, photo & video were created by the marginally-above-average folks @ Clear Partnering Group.