Have you ever been puzzled by whether a dentist or an orthodontist can help you with an oral issue you are experiencing? Well, you are not alone! There certainly is overlap between the two dental healthcare professions, but distinguishing the two based on what treatment you need to accomplish is essential. KBL Orthodontics is here to explain the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist so you can make quick and confident decisions about your health.
A Closer Look at Education and Training
The Road To Dentistry
A dentist’s educational journey begins with a four-year Bachelor’s degree, typically in a science-related field such as biology or chemistry. Upon graduation, they study to pass the dental admission test, assessing academic ability, perceptual ability, and general scientific understanding, leading to dental school admission. A passing grade allows potential dentists to begin their dental school journey.
There, they undergo comprehensive training in oral health, gain clinical experience to master patient care and treatment and learn about procedures such as fillings, root canals, and extractions. Most students will end their formal training after graduation after achieving either a Doctor of Dental Medicine or a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. Dentists then join an established practice or begin their own after earning a license to practice.
The Road To Orthodontics
To achieve a special license to work as an orthodontist, they continue toward completing an orthodontic residency like our very own Dr. Lewis did. Orthodontists-in-training work for another two to three years, splitting their time between lectures and in-office instruction. They finish their training with the confidence and alignment expertise you can trust to work on your teeth!
Necessitating at least ten years of training before officially practicing, orthodontists can take another step towards education and receive board certification.
Dentists are Guardians of Your Dental Health
Looking out for all your dental needs, dentists are your primary defense against common oral issues and ensure your overall dental health. They focus on helping you maintain your general oral health and keep a lookout for any developing dental diseases by offering teeth cleanings.
Part of a dentist’s job is to create a solid foundation for pristine teeth for you to keep up daily oral hygiene without any trouble. During appointments, they can answer questions about correctly brushing and flossing your teeth, recommend dental products tailored to your specific oral needs, and assist with establishing an oral hygiene routine.
Helping Patients of All Ages
Dentists are there to look out for and care for your teeth throughout your life. A child’s first appointment is recommended as a one-year-old.
Making cleaning appointments part of your routine is essential to establishing solid teeth to last a lifetime. As you grow older, asking your dentist about conscious dietary choices and oral hygiene can help to preserve your teeth as age may start to wear them down.
Treatment Available at Your Local Dentist
The invaluable teeth cleanings offered by your dentist can help your teeth function as designed for longer with the proper care between appointments. They professionally remove tartar or plaque buildup on your teeth and polish hard-to-reach spots you may miss during everyday brushings. They also check for any signs of gum disease, cavities, tooth decay, and similar issues.
Dentists help you stay proactive in your approach to dental hygiene and can spot early signs of the complications mentioned above. They can offer fillings, fluoride treatment, crowns, and root canal therapy to restore your teeth to their resilient state.
Orthodontists are the Architects Behind Your Aligned Smile
Working as a specialist in achieving patients’ straight smiles, orthodontists like Dr. Lewis use their supplemental training to help patients achieve their specialized dental goals. They focus on diagnosing patients’ issues, creating personalized treatment plans, and how to align teeth to the correct position effectively. Orthodontists work on crowded teeth, bite complications, spacing, and jaw structure complications.
Start Your Smile Journey At Any Time
It is crucial to our team at KBL Orthodontics that patients can start treatment at any point in their adult life. Many people associate braces with adolescence and believe adults cannot reap the same benefits. However, Dr. Lewis can tell you that is far from the truth.
While braces as a child or teen may be a shorter experience, we encourage patients of all ages to pursue treatment and work toward the fantastic smile you deserve. Adult orthodontics has become increasingly more common over the years as more patients realize the importance of straight teeth beyond aesthetics.
Treatment Available at KBL Orthodontics
Offering modern treatment options, we are pleased to give our patients options when deciding the best way to move forward with their straight smile. These choices include clear braces, traditional metal braces, and clear aligners. Although each appliance differs in appearance and technique implemented, they all consistently yield outstanding results!
How to Decide When Should You See an Orthodontist vs. a Dentist
Determining which dental professional to see for your oral needs can be complicated, but don’t worry. Follow these general rules, and you will be all set! If you are experiencing issues like a cavity or tooth pain that require preventative care, your best bet is to see a dentist. It may be beneficial to start with a dentist who can refer you to a trusted orthodontist in your area.
Your orthodontist will be your trusted source for all problems related to misaligned teeth, jaw and bite issues. Even if your dentist offers orthodontic procedures such as braces, an orthodontist’s specialized training puts them ahead in quality of care due to the years of experience they have under their belt solely working with alignment. Don’t be afraid to ask and get clarification on what falls under the scope of either practice.
Discover Your Dental Needs With Our Team!
Remember, we are here for your dental needs! If you believe our orthodontic team can best address a dental issue you are experiencing or need help figuring out who can help you, don’t hesitate to call KBL Orthodontics’ Dothan practice at 334-471-5128. Our team will gladly walk you through what you need and schedule a free consultation with Dr. Lewis.