The Difference Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist

The Difference Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist

The Difference Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist

Dentists and orthodontists alike are part of your care team to keep your smile healthy. They help to achieve this goal in different ways. But what is the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist?

Orthodontist vs Dentist

One way to think about it is to compare your dentist to your primary care doctor and an orthodontist to a medical specialist. Dentists are the first line of defense in keeping your smile healthy. They maintain the health of your teeth and gums and diagnose and treat any issues that may arise. Dentists also look at the muscles of the head, neck, and jaw, the tongue, as well as your salivary glands.   

A dentist typically earns a Bachelor of Science and then completes additional schooling similar to the amount of schooling necessary to become a medical doctor. Orthodontists complete further training beyond that of a general dentist. They are trained to diagnose and treat bite misalignments.

When should you go to an orthodontist vs a dentist?

Here are some common reasons for seeing an orthodontist:

  • Crowded teeth
  • Teeth that are spaced to far apart
  • Protrusive teeth
  • Teeth that meet in an abnormal way or not at all

In general, you usually want to schedule an appointment with your dentist first, who can then refer you to an orthodontist. At Prescott Dental, we offer both dental and orthodontic services. If you are concerned about an alignment issue, it is tempting to put off setting an appointment. But do not wait. Proper teeth alignment is essential to good oral health, which can affect overall health as well. Bite misalignments can lead to:

  •  Tooth decay
  •  Gum disease
  •  Tooth loss
  •  Affected speech and/or chewing
  •  Abnormal wear to tooth enamel
  •  Jaw problems

Invisalign vs Traditional Braces

Traditionally, orthodontists have used metal braces to align teeth. Here at Prescott Dental, we offer Invisalign as a less intrusive alternative to align teeth. Dr. Thompson received extensive orthodontic training while in the military, and is a “preferred provider” of Invisalign. There are many benefits of Invisalign over traditional braces.

Keeping Your Smile Healthy

If you are interested in learning more about Invisalign, give our office a call to schedule a consultation. Whether you are needing dental services or orthodontic services in the Prescott area, our goal is to keep your smile healthy.

Image used under Adobe free stock standard license – commercial use (1/25/2021) WavebreakMediaMicro  (Adobe)