Orthodontists and Dentists: What Is the Difference?

Doctor At WorkQuite simply, all orthodontists are dentists, but only a small number of dentists are orthodontists (around 6%). In order to become an orthodontist, a dentist must go through an additional 24-36 months (2-3 years) of education in orthodontics at an accredited orthodontic residency program to become a certified orthodontist.

Orthodontics is one of the nine dental specialties. In the case of tooth movement and guiding facial development (orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics), orthodontists are the specialists in question.

Whereas a dentist is responsible for a number of features of oral care (from tooth extraction to cleaning and cavity fillings to denture model making), an orthodontist’s focus is solely on braces and developing the best treatment type necessary to make sure that patients have straight teeth, proper facial growth and a correct bite. In some instances, orthodontists may even have practiced as a general dentist before opting to become an orthodontist.

Dentists, as part of their schooling, receive basic orthodontic training. Some may take advanced courses and perform orthodontic work as part of their practice; however, in complex cases the training and equipment needed to properly address the malocclusion or issue in question is often best suited to an orthodontist’s particular skill set.

Choosing an OrthodontistOrthodontists see and treat hundreds of malocclusions during residency before they can call themselves an orthodontist. This level of training and singular specialization is what ensures the best treatment type will be chosen to align your teeth and give you a healthy smile. Orthodontists also work to ensure that your speech, biting and chewing functions all work properly.

One thing to remember: make sure when you look for an orthodontist, that the residency program he was a part of is accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA).

Orthodontic Associates has 8 convenient locations around Baltimore to suit your lifestyle. With our state-of-the-art appliances and revolutionary services, you or your family member’s smile is our top priority!

Contact us to set up a consultation and meet with one of our accredited doctors to see how we can best help you get the smile you have always wanted.


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