What is the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist? Popular culture often confuses the two, even using the terms interchangeably, but there are many differences and similarities when it comes to a dentist vs. orthodontist.
Despite preventative measures, most people seek help from one, if not both, professionals throughout the course of their lifetime. Just over 65% of people aged 18 to 64 report visiting their dentist regularly. Meanwhile, the orthodontics market in the United States expects to reach $9.60 billion before the start of 2030.
Both professions aim to maintain people’s oral health and enhance their appearance, but their services are often different. Understanding the two can save you time and money and help you get the treatment you need. In this post, we’ll break down the dentist and orthodontist difference, the word “orthodontist” meaning, and discuss some of their popular commonalities.
What Is The Difference Between A Dentist And An Orthodontist?
Dentists and orthodontists specialize in oral health but have very different roles. Dentists diagnose, prevent, and treat dental diseases or disorders of the teeth, gums, and other supporting structures. On the other hand, orthodontists specialize in correcting misaligned teeth or jaws, known as malocclusion.
Dentists typically offer:
- Preventative care, such as routine cleanings, sealants, and fluoride treatments
- Diagnosis and treatment of oral diseases or disorders, including cavities, gum disease, and abscesses
- Cosmetic procedures, like teeth whitening and veneers
- Endodontic procedures, such as root canals
- Crowns, bridges and dentures
When you visit the orthodontist, meaning someone who focuses primarily on correcting issues relating to the function of one’s mouth, you can expect services such as:
- Palatal expanders
- Appliances to correct speech and swallowing
It’s important to note that dentists and orthodontists provide services that can increase an individual’s overall well-being and oral health.
Are Orthodontists Dentists?
All orthodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are orthodontists. The main dentist and orthodontist difference is the primary type of treatment that they provide.
Dentists and orthodontists are both dedicated to improving oral health preventatively, cosmetically, and restoratively. Although people tend to associate orthodontists with braces, they often provide an extensive array of services that overlap with those of general dentistry. These doctors have the shared goal of enhancing one’s health, confidence, and comfort.
However, only orthodontists in the U.S. are eligible to become certified by the American Board of Orthodontics.
Is An Orthodontist A Doctor?
An orthodontist is a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) or a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS). They’ve pursued additional training in the field of dentistry, specialize in treating teeth and jaw alignment issues, and have completed an accredited postgraduate program.
How to know if a dentist is an orthodontist is as simple as reviewing their credentials and primary services. Don’t be afraid to ask your provider about their certifications prior to beginning any treatment.
Dentist vs. Orthodontist: Which One Do I Need?
Some people are uncertain if they should consult a dentist vs. orthodontist for their condition.
In many cases, you’ll work with a dentist and an orthodontist.
Generally speaking, patients often visit their dentist for regular cleanings or to address issues related to the health of their teeth or gums. Meanwhile, orthodontists traditionally deal with more complex issues, such as misalignment. If a patient requires both preventative care and orthodontic treatment, the dentist may refer them to an orthodontist for additional services. In some instances, dentists and orthodontists may consult with one another when treating unique cases.
For individuals that only require one specific service or treatment, utilizing both doctors may not be necessary. Although, it is essential to maintain your regular visits with your dentist if you are undergoing orthodontic treatment.
What Is The Difference Between A Dentist And An Orthodontist Cost-wise?
The services dentists and orthodontists provide differ, so comparing the costs side by side can be challenging.
Dentists offer a broad range of preventative and restorative treatments, like fillings, cleanings, root canals, extractions, and crowns. Orthodontists specialize in diagnosing, preventing, and treating dental and facial irregularities using braces or aligners. The additional time and skill required often means orthodontic treatments cost more than general dental services.
Unlike general dental procedures, orthodontic treatments are sometimes excluded from many dental plans because of their complexity. Talk to your insurance provider to discuss questions like, “What are the orthodontic services I get covered under my plan?”
Some treatments can involve a combination of services from dentists and orthodontists, so you’ll be required to pay each provider separately. Regardless of the practitioner you work with, you should understand the cost of your treatment before starting. It’s also a good idea to ask about payment plans or financing options to make treatment more affordable.
Remember that the cost of treatment shouldn’t be your only concern. Choosing a qualified and experienced practitioner who can provide quality services will help make your investment worth it!
Discover Your Options With Bates Orthodontics
Bates Orthodontics offers a wide range of orthodontic treatments to fit your needs and budget. We don’t penalize you for wanting Invisalign over braces – they cost the same here! Our experienced and knowledgeable professionals work hard to create a customized treatment plan so you can reach your smile goals.
Our goal? To provide our patients with the highest-quality care. We understand that orthodontic treatment can be complex and costly, which is why we’re dedicated to providing our patients with the information they need to get the smile of their dreams.
Schedule a complimentary consultation to learn more about our services!