What’s the Difference Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist? Part 2

This follows on from a previous article explaining the simple difference between dentists and orthodontists in terms of other subjects like doctors and surgeons and police officers and detectives. This article outlines the types of work that dentists and orthodontists do.

Years ago, hundreds of years ago, dentistry was a fairly unsophisticated subject. It required good physical skill, but the range of treatments available was fairly small – if your tooth was badly hurting, you saw someone to take it out. There weren’t any anaesthetics, so if you were lucky, the dentist took out the tooth quickly, and it didn’t break on the way out, and it didn’t hurt too much, and if you were very lucky he took out the correct tooth first time.

There wasn’t the option of modern fillings or root treatments, or gum treatments. There weren’t even antibiotic medicines to stop infections and abscesses. In fact, dental infections were a significant cause of death in the middle ages. Back then, a lot of dentistry, like a lot of surgery, was carried out by barbers, who had a good collection of blades and steel instruments.

Eventually dentistry moved on. More treatments were developed and some teeth could be saved. Advances in anaesthetics meant that more work could be done on teeth without upsetting the patients. After a while examinations were brought in to make sure that the people carrying out dentistry were fit to do so and this helped protect the public from poor dentists.

Over the years dentistry became even more advanced. Nowadays, a dentist would leave dental school and expect to know about:

  • Fillings
  • Crowns
  • Bridges
  • Veneers
  • Tooth whitening
  • Implants
  • Root treatments
  • Gum diseases
  • Jaw muscle problems
  • Problems involving the lining of the mouth, including the tongue, and including monitoring for mouth cancer
  • Dentures
  • Dental Surgery
  • Children’s dentistry
  • Orthodontics
  • Dental X-Rays
  • Medical problems related to dentistry
  • Dental problems related to medicine
  • Medications needed to treat dental problems

That’s a lot to stay on top of, and it also is a lot of instruments to keep in order to provide all of these treatments, so many dentists tend to concentrate on the areas that interest them most. The area I know best is orthodontics, and here are some of the areas of orthodontics that orthodontists need to think about when planning, organising, and carrying out treatment for a patient:

  • Invisible braces (like INVISALIGN))
  • Tooth coloured braces (like DAMON CLEAR)
  • Metal Fixed Braces (train tracks like DAMON Q or MX)
  • Lingual Braces (Braces on the inside of the teeth)
  • Removable braces
  • Retainer braces
  • Twin block braces
  • Headgear braces
  • Developing teeth
  • Extra teeth (supernumerary teeth)
  • Missing teeth
  • Teeth with abnormal roots
  • Teeth in an abnormal position
  • Abnormal jaw bone
  • Abnormal tooth shape
  • Abnormal jaw sizes
  • Abnormal gums
  • How the growth of the face and jaws will affect the treatment
  • How to tell if a patient’s face is still growing
  • If the patient needs surgery for the teeth
  • If the patient needs surgery for the jaws
  • If the patient

The Difference Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist

Accessing the best dental care can be a bit of a challenge sometimes. There are many dentists around and each of them claims to be providing the best of services. There are also some other dental health practitioners called orthodontists. You probably think that everyone who deals with teeth is a dentist. Quite on the contrary, you probably do not need the services of a dentist but rather an orthodontist. Not everybody knows what orthodontists do anyway.

Generally, orthodontists and dentists have the same agenda as far as your health is concerned. This is to enhance your oral health. However, the ways that they do this are the difference. As you might know, dentistry is not a small field but one with a whole lot of branches within it. It is also worth mentioning that a dentist can also be an orthodontist but you need not be told that not all dentists are licensed as orthodontists as well.

The similarities

The major comparison between a dentist and an orthodontist is that they both focus on your dental healthcare. An orthodontist may work in a dental office and provide the same care as a dentist. In this case, they perform the same duties. In short, they are both doctors who deal with teeth and gums.

The world of differences

For starters, orthodontists spend a lot of more time in school as a dentist specialty. It is the same thing with surgeons as they go through some few more years in school. Orthodontists normally concentrate on helping patients with teeth alignment. They fix the bite and alignment of the teeth. This might be through the use of tools such as braces and Invisalign.

Dentists mainly promote good oral hygiene and provide services relating to tooth decay, root canals, gum disease, crowns, veneers, tooth whitening, and bridges. On the other hand, orthodontists are dentists who mostly focus on the alignment of teeth and give services such as fixing misaligned teeth, crowded teeth and overbite or underbite.

Which specialist to visit

Getting to know the differences between the two profession helps you save a lot of time when you are looking for a specific procedure to be done on your teeth. So if your teeth are to be aligned, you know you have to go to an orthodontist and if you just want a dental checkup, you go to a dentist who will be able to take care of your daily dental needs. Dentists are able to treat just about any kind of dental issue and that is why they are the more popular of the two. However, you might also benefit greatly from the specialized care provided by orthodontists.

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