What’s the Difference Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist?

Apr 1, 2021 | Orthodontics

If you care a lot about your smile, you want to take the best possible care of it. So, what do all these different kinds of dentists do? And how do you know which one to see and when? Here is what you need to know about the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist and when may it be helpful to see each of them.

What’s the Difference?

The difference between a dentist and an orthodontist may not be obvious at first because they both deal with issues involving the mouth. But the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist has to do with how and what they treat in the mouth.

Dentists’ specialty is caring for the health of the teeth, gums and jaw. A dentist should typically be seen about every 6 months for an exam and x-rays to check on the health of the different parts of your teeth as well as your gums. A dentist’s office is also where you’ll get professional cleanings done to help keep your smile healthy and bright.

An orthodontist is who you’ll see if you want a specialist that can help with straightening your teeth or correcting your bite. There’s no set age or timing when someone should see an orthodontist for the first time. For children, some don’t see an orthodontist until age 12 or 13, while some go as young as age 5 or 6. It’s usually a good idea to take your child to the orthodontist when their adult or permanent teeth begin to come in, typically around age 7. For adults, any time is a good time to see an orthodontist if you have questions or concerns about the alignment of your teeth or bite or want to improve the appearance of your smile.

Which One is Right for You?

Seeing an orthodontist doesn’t mean you won’t need to see a dentist, and vice versa. The difference between a dentist and an orthodontist may mean that being seen by one may not necessarily take care of the same needs as the other.

Orthodontists and dentists have very different specialties and work together to help their patients achieve the healthy and beautiful smiles they deserve. If you begin orthodontic treatment, it’s actually more important than ever to continue to see your dentist for regular exams and cleanings to ensure that your teeth remain healthy, clean and strong to achieve the greatest results possible. And likewise, if you’re seeing a dentist regularly, it is a good idea to talk to an orthodontist about how addressing any overcrowding or bite issues can make it easier to care for your teeth and improve the overall health of your mouth.

Make an Appointment Today

If you’re unsure about whether you need orthodontic treatment or not, it’s a great first step to call an orthodontist and schedule a consultation. An orthodontist can examine your teeth and jaw and talk with you to help you decide if orthodontic treatment is necessary or right for you and what that treatment will look like. Your best smile is in your future and both your dentist and orthodontist are here for you to help make it possible.

Call our Spring Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.