Patients often confuse dentists with orthodontists and vice versa. While they both treat conditions that affect the mouth, what they treat and how they do so differs greatly between each profession.
To better understand how an orthodontist differs from a dentist, let’s explore the differences between these two oral care providers.
What Does a Dentist Do?
Most people are familiar with the services a dentist can offer. Their services revolve around restoring individual teeth while ensuring that the soft tissue in a patient’s mouth remains healthy.
Examples of services that dentists provide include:
- Teeth cleaning (prophylaxis) of the teeth to reduce plaque above and below the gum line.
- Protective sealants designed to reduce sensitivity, such as the kind experienced with exposed teeth roots, and to protect against future damage.
- Fillings, which includes using everything from traditional amalgam materials to glass ionomers and composite resins. These may restore form, aesthetics or both.
- Crowns that help to stabilize and restore teeth.
- Root canal therapy to remove the pulp of a tooth and reduce the amount of bacterial present within a tooth.
- Tooth extractions, which are used only when a tooth cannot be saved or a patient is in a large amount of pain.
The focus of a dentist is primarily upon the individual form and function of teeth rather than the form and function of the mouth as a whole.
What Does an Orthodontist Do?
Orthodontists deal with the way teeth come together within a patient’s mouth or the way the lower jaw interacts with the upper. They help a patient to have a healthy bite, which is essential to ensuring that any restorative work remains viable.
Orthodontists will utilize the following treatments:
- Braces to fix spacing issues between teeth. These work by utilizing bands that can be tightened or acrylic molds that “pull” on some teeth while using others as anchors.
- Space maintainers designed to prevent teeth from crowding other teeth.
- Splints designed to move the lower jaw backward or forwards, or to help treat conditions like temporomandibular joint disorders.
- Retainers that help to prevent certain teeth from shifting.
The main goal of orthodontists is to correct issues that affect the alignment of teeth, the bone structure of a patient’s mouth, and everything between those two things.
Do Dentists and Orthodontists Share Anything in Common?
Most dentists and orthodontists do share a few things in common. They both tend to be able to utilize exams to look for problems with the teeth or mouth. They may provide teeth cleaning through the use of an oral hygienist.
Some dentists are also orthodontists, which means that they are capable of providing a more comprehensive variety of services. They may be able to use both restorative techniques and orthodontic appliances to make a smile better.
Let Us Help Make Your Smile Beautiful
If you’re worried about imperfections in your smile, then contact Runnels Orthodontics today. We can schedule a consultation appointment where we can work on drafting a comprehensive plan designed to restore your confidence in smiling.