• Dr. Susan Baloul

Dentist vs. Orthodontist: What’s the Difference?

Updated: Apr 23

Dentist vs. Orthodontist

Dentist vs. Orthodontist, When it comes to taking care of your teeth, it can get complicated knowing what professionals to go to for what. Dentists and orthodontists both have similar goals of improving your oral health by focusing on oral and dental care, however they provide very different services. An orthodontist may work in a dental office and provide the same care as a dentist. In this respect, they are quite similar as they are both doctors that work with teeth and gums. However, there are more differences than similarities between these two practices. Whereas a dentist would typically end their academic career after dental school, an orthodontist requires extra schooling as a dental specialty.


Dentists focus on diagnoses and treating and managing overall oral health care. This includes routine dental work like check-ups, cleanings, x-rays, removing or repairing problem teeth, filling cavities, and making models for dentures. Typical dental treatments include gum care, root canals, fillings, crowns, veneers, bridges, and teeth whitening. Orthodontists, however, tend to specialize in the alignment of teeth and provide treatment like wires, Invisalign®, braces, retainers, and more to correct misaligned or crowded teeth, overbites, and underbites.

Who should I see for my oral care?

Chances are, you will need to visit with both a dentist and an orthodontist at some point in your life, although probably not with the same frequency. It is recommended that you visit with your dentist routinely around every six months for a general check-up and teeth cleaning to assure that your mouth is in proper, healthy condition. In contrast, you will generally only need to visit with an orthodontist if you are having any misalignment issues of the teeth or jaw. If this is the case and you need semi-permanent devices such as braces installed in your mouth, you will need to visit with an orthodontist around every month to maintain and readjust treatment. However, once the orthodontic procedure is complete, you may need to visit less frequently or not at all provided that your results are maintained.

If you are interested in learning more or taking the first step toward your orthodontic treatment, contact Elegant Orthodontics. Locals in the Norwood and Boston areas looking for an improvement in their smile and confidence are encouraged to come visit us and see what our skilled orthodontists can do for you today.

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