Dentist or Orthodontist, who should you see?

Dentist or Orthodontist?

Considering a smile makeover but confused whether to see a dentist or orthodontist? Both play a role in achieving a healthy and beautiful smile, but they have distinct areas of expertise.

Let’s explore which dental professional is best suited for your specific needs.

Dentist or Orthodontist?

Maintaining a Healthy Smile

Regular dental checkups are crucial for a healthy smile. Finding a general dentist you trust and building a long-term relationship with them is the best way to ensure your oral health. Your dentist will provide preventive care, cleanings, and monitor your overall dental health.

Orthodontic Treatment

An orthodontist is a specialist dentist who focuses on correcting misaligned teeth and bite problems. They have the advanced training and experience to achieve the best possible results. While some general dentists can handle simple orthodontic cases, orthodontists are the preferred choice for complex misalignment issues.

Referral to an Orthodontist

If your dentist recommends seeing an orthodontist, it’s because they want you to receive the most qualified care. Orthodontists have the expertise to manage intricate cases and ensure your treatment goes smoothly.

Collaboration Between Dentists and Orthodontists

Many dentists collaborate with orthodontists to provide comprehensive dental care. Dentists can refer patients to orthodontists for specialized treatment, while orthodontists may refer patients back to dentists for ongoing maintenance.

The Importance of Regular Dental Care

It’s important to find a dentist you feel comfortable with and see them regularly for checkups and cleanings. This allows them to monitor your oral health, identify any potential issues early on, and provide preventive care. Building a long-term relationship with your dentist ensures they get to know your unique dental needs and can provide the best possible care.

Orthodontist vs Dentist: the Differences

EducationFive years of dental school, plus three years of orthodontic residencyFour years of dental school
SpecialtyFocuses on diagnosing and treating misaligned teethProvides general dental care
ProceduresBraces, retainers, InvisalignCleanings, fillings, x-rays, extractions
Cosmetic DentistryMay offer some cosmetic procedures, such as veneersOffers cosmetic procedures, such as veneers and teeth whitening
Continued TrainingFocuses on orthodonticsMay offer some orthodontic treatments

Orthodontists are dental specialists

While orthodontists are qualified dentists, they have additional training that makes them experts in straightening teeth and correcting bite problems. After completing dental school, orthodontists spend over three years in residency programs specifically focused on orthodontics. This extra training gives them the knowledge and skills to use braces, aligners, and other appliances to move teeth and jaws into their proper positions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist in Australia?

The key differences between a dentist and an orthodontist in Australia are:

  1. Specialization: Orthodontists are dental specialists who have completed additional 2-3 years of specialized training beyond dental school, focusing on correcting misaligned teeth, bites, and jaws. Dentists are general practitioners who provide a broader range of dental services.
  2. Scope of practice: Orthodontists specialize in treating issues like crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, and TMJ disorders. Dentists focus on general oral healthcare, such as fillings, extractions, crowns, and preventive services.
  3. Qualifications: Orthodontists must complete a general dental degree plus a specialist orthodontic degree, while dentists only require a general dental degree.
  4. Referrals: Patients can see an orthodontist directly, but dentists often refer patients to orthodontists for specialized orthodontic treatment, as dentists are not trained to provide comprehensive orthodontic care.

Can a dentist perform orthodontic work?

No, a dentist cannot perform comprehensive orthodontic work. While dentists have general training in dentistry, orthodontists have specialized additional training and qualifications specifically in orthodontics. Orthodontists undergo 2-3 years of specialized training beyond dental school to become experts in correcting misaligned teeth, jaws, and bites. They are the specialists who use braces, clear aligners, and other orthodontic appliances to move teeth into proper position.

Will a dentist refer you to an orthodontist?

Yes, in many cases a dentist will refer patients to an orthodontist for specialized orthodontic treatment.While dentists can provide some basic orthodontic services, orthodontists are the dental specialists who have completed additional years of training specifically in correcting misaligned teeth, jaws, and bites. Dentists often identify orthodontic issues during routine check-ups and will then refer patients to an orthodontist for comprehensive orthodontic care.This referral process is common, as orthodontists have the specialized expertise to properly diagnose and treat complex orthodontic problems that are beyond the scope of general dentistry. The dentist’s referral helps ensure the patient receives the appropriate specialized care from an orthodontic specialist.

For more facts about orthodontics, visit the following links: