The Difference Between An Orthodontist and Dentist

At Dillehay Orthodontics, we believe the importance both orthodontists and dentists hold in your oral healthcare journey is unquestionable. Each provides treatments you need to help your teeth function as effectively as possible and provide you with the beautiful smile you deserve! But what is the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist? We will break it down so you can make knowledgeable decisions on where to go for your next appointment. 

How Qualifications and Training

Dentist Training

Education typically begins with a four-year science-related Bachelor’s degree. Before being able to move on to dental programs, candidates must pass an admission test that assesses their knowledge of natural sciences, reading comprehension, and more. 

After passing, they move on to a four-year dental program, mastering skills in patient care, treatment planning, and general dental work through both classroom and in-clinic experience. Studies culminate in a Doctor of Dental Medicine or Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. After this, many dentists join an established practice or start their own, ending official training. 

Orthodontist Training

Mastering dentistry first, orthodontists continue their education toward tooth and jaw alignment expertise. During special training, they work towards mastery of patient care, the intricacies of bone development, and how to properly diagnose and treat issues specific to the scope of orthodontics. Ultimately, this profession requires at least ten years of training before they begin treating patients. Orthodontists can continue their education by pursuing board certification in the field.

What Does an Orthodontist Do?

Your reliable choice for all things tooth and jaw alignment is Dr. JK! He will assist you in customizing a plan with your specific oral goals. As an orthodontist, he has undergone additional training to gain expertise in efficient tooth and jaw movement to ensure your smile looks its best and functions flawlessly. 

If you suffer from crooked teeth, bite issues, jaw misalignment, and similar conditions, we are the experts to help you find your way to the other side of the tunnel. Our practice believes going to a specialist is the best way to achieve the results you desire. Orthodontists strive to offer a beautifully aligned smile and improve long-term oral health by diagnosing and treating complications with a care plan specific to each patient.

Orthodontist-Provided Treatment

Braces and Aligners

At Dillehay Orthodontics, we proudly offer treatments covering tooth alignment and gum-related procedures. Our team promises timely tooth movement with the help of braces made of metal or gold and ceramic, as well as clear aligners. Each varies in aesthetics and procedural method yet achieves the same excellent results. 

We also provide treatment related to overgrown gum tissue utilizing a diode laser and relief from jaw joint pain, commonly referred to as TMD.

Interceptive Treatment

Our orthodontists can anticipate a young patient’s dental needs around seven years old and recommend interceptive treatment. We can work with your child while they still have baby teeth and need assistance alignment before permanent teeth come in. This interceptive care can help your child fix oral issues early in life before they become severe or necessitate more complex procedures. It also allows braces treatment to be a more comfortable experience.

Additionally, orthodontic treatment is not limited to children and teens. It can begin anytime in your adult life and prove equally effective. 

The Difference Between An Orthodontist and Dentist

What Does a Dentist Do?

Dentists provide care to maintain your overall dental health. As the first dental healthcare provider you see, dentists are a necessary first step in helping you upkeep your oral health. Dentists regularly offer bi-annual teeth cleanings and keep a lookout for any developing dental complications. They can educate you on how to best care for your teeth through proper brushing and flossing techniques, food choices that impact oral health, and keeping a beautiful-looking smile.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends you bring your child in to see a dentist by their first birthday. Where they will receive an initial examination and explain how your baby’s teeth are growing and how you can help establish a solid foundation for their future permanent teeth. Then, as patients get older, they are encouraged to come in for an appointment twice a year to monitor and clean their teeth properly.

Dentist-Provided Treatment

Dentists take care of routine dental care, such as fillings, crowns, teeth whitening, and cavities. Each protects individual teeth from damage while managing aesthetics and practical concerns. 

Much of the treatment provided by dentists involves preventative care and general cleanings. The most common treatment includes bi-annual cleanings, which professionally remove tartar or plaque buildup on your teeth and polish hard-to-reach spots. Cleanings allow them to check for any signs of gum disease, cavities, tooth decay, and similar issues. 

These routine visits act as the cornerstone of your dental health and allow your dentist to stay updated on your teeth and provide you with proactive steps to keep yourself healthy. 

Do I Need a Dentist or Orthodontist? 

Dentists work to provide patients with primary inclusive care, like restoring teeth to their original state from decay or cavities, protecting them from damage, and providing whitening services. If a dentist can solve the complication without altering the alignment, they are your best choice.

Because orthodontist practices focus exclusively on tooth and jaw alignment treatment, they play a pivotal role in ensuring your teeth function appropriately and remain aesthetically pleasing. Addressing bite issues, early interceptive treatment and crowded teeth is how our team can help contribute to your overall health.

In some cases, being seen by both an orthodontist and a dentist may be to your benefit to best reach your dental goals and allow your teeth to function correctly.

The Difference Between An Orthodontist and Dentist

Schedule An Appointment Today with Dillehay Orthodontics!

Our experienced Dillehay Orthodontics team ensures you receive a personalized treatment plan that leverages the latest technology and effective techniques. Call one of our offices in East Wichita, West Wichita, and Derby at 316-683-6518 to schedule a free consultation with our doctors. 

We can’t wait to meet you!