What’s The Difference Between A Dentist And An Orthodontist?

dentist explains to patientThey Both Love Caring For Healthy Smiles!

A smile needs all of the help it can get to stay healthy. With excellent at-home dental care paired with professional dental care, your teeth will be functional and beautiful for years to come.

But how do you know if you need to see a dentist or an orthodontist? ARCH Orthodontics is here to explain:

  • What the difference is between the two
  • Who you might need to see
  • What age it’s best to see them

What Does A Dentist Do?

Hopefully, you see a dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups to maintain healthy teeth. It’s generally best start seeing the dentist at a young age, when baby teeth have started to poke through the gums.

When someone chooses to pursue a career as a dentist they enter into a medical field that’s devoted to the mouth, jaw, gums, and teeth. There are many issues a dentist must be on the lookout for, so they can provide fast preventive treatment.

They include:

  • Tooth decay and cavities
  • Gum disease
  • Oral cancer

Many dentists are actually surgeons too! They can perform surgical procedures like root canals and they can even pull problem teeth.

What Does An Orthodontist Do?

Your ARCH Orthodontist was actually a dentist first and then became an orthodontist. After attending four years of dental school, a dentist then completes about two additional years of orthodontic-related courses to be an orthodontist. They are most concerned with correcting overcrowded or crooked teeth, along with treating underbites and overbites. This is also commonly referred to as dentofacial orthopedics. An orthodontist is able to evaluate all of these things and determine the solution would work best to solve the problem. Many times dentists will refer patients to an orthodontist to determine if dentofacial orthopedics would help.

If your dentist recommends that you see an orthodontist, it’s important that you give ARCH a call. Issues like misaligned or crowded teeth can actually lead to much more serious problems in the future. They can include bone loss, jaw pain, headaches, and problems with speech. It’s typically recommended by the American Association of Orthodontics that kids see an orthodontist by age 7 to help guide growth and development.

There are definitely a few overlaps in how dentists and orthodontists take care of your smile. It’s important to know that ARCH Orthodontics will work with you and your dentist to ensure your smile (or your child’s smile) are healthy and looking great. Don’t hesitate to give one of our nine convenient locations throughout the greater Boston area a call if you have any questions or want to learn more about what we do. We’re always happy to help!

Visit our offices in Bridgewater, Brockton, Randolph, Canton, Westwood, Orleans, Hyannis, Hyde Park, and Stoughton.