Dental Care

Read to Know What is the Difference between Dentists and Orthodontists

Regular dental check-ups are vital, but for complex cases, your dentist may refer you to specialized professionals like orthodontists, periodontists, endodontists, or oral surgeons.

These specialists possess advanced training to address specific dental issues beyond the scope of general dentistry, ensuring comprehensive and tailored care.

Understanding when to see an orthodontist and the distinctions between orthodontists and dentists is crucial for seeking appropriate dental care.

Orthodontists specialize in correcting teeth and jaw misalignments, whereas dentists focus on the following:

  • Overall oral health maintenance
  • Routine check-ups
  • Cleanings
  • Treatment of common dental issues

Recognizing the services each professional offers help in making informed decisions about dental appointments tailored to individual needs.

What are Dentists and Orthodontists?

A dentist is a healthcare professional specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of issues related to:

  • Teeth
  • Gums
  • Nerves
  • Jaw

Orthodontists, also dentists, specialize within dentistry, primarily addressing issues like correcting bites, occlusion, and the alignment of teeth.

What are the Similarities?

Dentists and orthodontists share a dedication to oral health and well-being. It is essential to note that while all orthodontists are dentists, not all dentists are orthodontists.

Orthodontists undergo additional schooling to specialize in orthodontics, allowing them to work in dental offices and perform the same duties as dentists, with a focus on correcting bites and teeth alignment.

What are the Differences?

To differentiate between dentists and orthodontists, consider that dentists focus on overall oral care, treating issues like tooth decay, gum disease, and performing procedures such as extractions, crowns, and root canals.

On the other hand, orthodontists specialize in correcting alignment problems like overbites, underbites, and tooth crowding, emphasizing treatments to improve bite and tooth positioning.

What Do Dentists Do?

The International Dental Association (IDA) underscores that dentistry encompasses dental care and correction. Dentists address various health issues affecting the mouth, including teeth, gums, and oral tissues.

Through routine check-ups, dentists detect and manage cavities, gum disease, and oral hygiene concerns. They may also perform extractions for irreparable teeth.

Additionally, dentists enhance tooth function and appearance with treatments like bonding, veneers, and crowns for damaged or decayed teeth.

They conduct thorough examination for signs of oral diseases and provide guidance on maintaining oral health. If a dentist identifies a problem beyond their scope, they refer patients to appropriate dental specialists or physicians for further treatment.

What Do Orthodontists Do?

Orthodontic specialization extends beyond merely aligning teeth to ensuring the proper growth of both teeth and jaws. Orthodontists provide treatments to address various issues including:

  • Crowded teeth
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Misaligned jaws

Their focus goes beyond cosmetic concerns, aiming to optimize oral function and overall dental health.

Orthodontists utilize various tools to align teeth and jaws effectively, such as traditional braces, lingual braces, and clear aligners, along with other orthodontic appliances.

Each patient’s alignment issues are unique, so orthodontists rely on X-rays and photographs of the teeth to develop personalized treatment plans tailored to individual needs.


Dentists and orthodontists may overlap in services, but only orthodontists specialize in orthodontic treatments. For dental issues like cavities, see a dentist. For orthodontic treatments, consult an orthodontist. Your dentist will ensure ongoing oral health and recommend specialists when needed.

Related Articles

Nourishing Your Smile: The Impact of Diet and Nutrition on Dental Health


The Fundamentals of Dental Hygiene and Oral Health


Bad Breath: Causes, Prevention and Cures


Leave a Comment