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Similarities and Differences Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist

submitted on 10 March 2021 by
Many people are so used to the term dentist even if their dental practitioner has a different specialisation. While dentists and orthodontists both help improve the oral health of their patients, they dispense their services in different ways.

Both study dentistry, which is a branch of medical speciality dealing with teeth, gum, jaw, and nerves. Orthodontics is a dental specialisation that concentrates on the straightness of teeth, and the correction of occlusion and bites. Dental practitioners are dentists, but not all dentists are orthodontists.

Similarities and differences
Both are dentists and work in a dental clinic, and they are both focused on oral care. However, an orthodontist requires additional schooling to focus on a particular dental speciality. A dentist usually provides a variety of dental services, from dental prophylaxis (dental cleaning), filling, tooth extraction, root canal therapy, veneers, bridges, and crowns, teeth whitening, dentures, toothaches, and other dental emergencies.

On the other hand, an orthodontist specialises in the alignment of patient's teeth, improves the appearance of crowded teeth, improves their bite (overbite, crossbite, and underbite), and fits patients with corrective devices and braces. You will need an orthodontist if you are suffering from temporomandibular disorders.

When should you see a dentist?
If you are a parent, you should take your child to visit the dentist once their milk teeth come out. Paediatric dental care is more often, to ensure that the child's teeth will grow healthy and aligned. Visiting the dentist early will help the child adjust to a dental office and learn the proper oral hygiene quickly.

Adults are advised to see their dentist at least twice a year, but if there are emergencies, you should see the dentist as soon as you can. You should see a dentist when your gums are puffy and bleeding. You should check with your dentist if you have a missing tooth or if you have dental work done before, such as fillings, dentures, dental implants, or crowns. Situations that call for a dental appointment include eating disorders, pregnancy, trouble chewing or swallowing, dry mouth, or your mouth has spots and sores.

When should you see an orthodontist?
If you have a young child, schedule an appointment with an orthodontist before your child reaches the age of seven for an orthodontic evaluation. The orthodontist will check if there is a problem with the jaw growth, emerging permanent teeth among the baby teeth, alignment of the teeth, issues with the child's bite.

As an adult, you need to visit an orthodontist if you have problems with your teeth alignment, or you have difficulty biting, speaking, or chewing. You may have some teeth that are misplaced, crowded, or protruding. You may also have orthodontic issues when you often unintentionally bite the roof of your mouth or your cheeks, your jaws make a sound when you move them, your jaws constantly shift position, or you cannot comfortably close your lips.

Know the differences and similarities between a dentist and orthodontist so that you can make an appointment with the right dental practitioner when you have dental issues.
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