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Orthodontist Vs Dentist: What Is the Difference Between the Two?

Around 37 million people in the United States don’t have dental insurance.

But just because they don’t carry dental coverage, that doesn’t stop them from needing oral healthcare. Uninsured patients will either ignore oral health issues or overpay for services that they receive. Neither option is good for your teeth or your wallet.

Keep reading to discover the difference between an orthodontist vs dentist so you’ll know who to call for your next appointment.

What Is an Orthodontist?

To understand what’s an orthodontist, you need to first ask, “what is orthodontics?” Orthodontics is a specialty of dentistry that prevents and treats dental abnormities. And orthodontists are the dentists who provide this specialized care.

People most commonly visit an orthodontist when dealing with misaligned teeth. The best orthodontist will be able to treat everything from overcrowded teeth or an over-bite to jaw growth problems.

To become an orthodontist, a dentist needs to have a bachelor’s degree and complete general dentistry schooling. After that, they need to complete a two to three year orthodontics residency and receive certain certifications.

So in simple terms, all orthodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are orthodontists.

What Is a Dentist?

Now that you know what an orthodontist is, you’re probably wondering “what is the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist?”

Every orthopedist you visit will also be a dentist, but they don’t provide the same patient care. Instead, your dentist is the doctor you should visit on a regular basis, generally twice a year.

For most of your visits, you’ll receive a general cleaning and oral exam from your dentist. If they notice any issues, such as cavities or gingivitis, they can begin to treat them immediately. You should also visit with your dentist anytime you feel tooth pain for an extended period of time or have questions about your oral health.

Your dentist will have a preferred orthodontist that they can refer you to if needed. They can provide the orthodontist with your oral health history and communicate what they discovered.

While a dentist doesn’t have as much schooling as an orthodontist, they are still thoroughly trained in oral health. A dentist must obtain their bachelor’s degree, usually in pre-medicine pre-dentistry. Then, they attend dental school and must pass the National Dental Examination.

Orthodontist vs Dentist: Which One Do You Need?

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of the orthodontist vs dentist question.

If you’re looking for specialized care to treat a dental abnormality, you should visit an orthodontist. But, if you’re looking for a general cleaning or minor dental issue, you need the help of a dentist.

Are you still unsure about who to visit? You can always schedule an initial consultation with either one and they will be able to guide you in the right direction.

Now that your oral hygiene is back on track, it’s time to concentrate on the rest of your body. Head to the Health section of this site to discover all the best health-related advice.


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