Distinguishing dentists and orthodontists can be confusing because each profession can be extremely similar or different depending on what you are comparing. Orthodontics are described as a highly specialized branch of dentistry. It tends to address the problems related to alignment and misalignment of the jaw and teeth. It is closely related to the field of dentistry and, in general, it tends to deal with very specific problems that set it apart from the general outlook of dentistry. Therefore, orthodontists do not perform the general dental procedures a dentist would do. These include: fillings, teeth whitening and tooth extractions. Instead, they are highly trained specialists who have qualifications and skills that enable them to address a wide variety of the structural problems associated with the jaw and teeth. This will include the cases of crowded teeth, an under bite or impacted teeth and many more similar conditions.
Difference in Education
Because of the specialized nature of the work, orthodontists are required to undertake more education and training than dentists. Orthodontists are required to complete their university or college studies in an accredited institution to earn a bachelor’s degree in Dental surgery. In addition to this they are required to complete a master’s degree or doctorate in Orthodontics. This is not all. In some states, they are required to be registered as a specialist in Orthodontics by a regulation agency.
Orthodontists are specialists so the patient does not need to get a referral from the dentist to book an appointment, but most patients will seek the referral from the dentist as a first step. This way the patient can relax and know the orthodontist they are being referred to is working in close relationship with their family dentist. A well experienced orthodontist knows this is an important role to play in the patients’ well being in terms of their teeth.
The Two Support Each Other
Even though the orthodontist is a specialist in a distinct branch of dentistry and will tend to deal with the very specific conditions, their work supports dentist so the two professions will be seen to be working in complete partnership. The two support each other as the dentist can refer their patients to the orthodontist for a more specialized care and still do the other treatments and procedures such as the tooth extraction and root canal. Therefore, you do need the dentist and the orthodontist as they perform different roles to improve your overall oral health.
Written by Dr. Darren Wittenberger, the best orthodontist in Columbia MO has to offer, and owner of his own practice, Advance Orthodontics. Dr. Wittenberger enjoys sharing his expertise to ensure people can maintain the healthiest, straightest teeth possible!