The Difference Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist

It’s amazing how a simple gesture has the power to light up a room or make children giggle, but smiles are contagious, as everyone knows, and keeping them bright and beautiful is of paramount importance. Maintaining the health of your teeth is easy with regular dental care, but where do you turn when your smile needs an overhaul? Can your family dentist handle the situation or should you schedule an appointment with expert Park Avenue Orthodontists? The answer actually depends on what kind of services your teeth require. Dentists and orthodontists are both committed to the overall health and wellness of your teeth, but they have very different roles. To dispel any confusion about who to see and when, let’s take a closer look at these two professions.

What exactly does a dentist do?

Simply put, a dentist focuses on the health of the teeth, gums, mouth, and jaw. After completing a bachelor’s degree and a four-year doctoral program, dentists may start helping patients with a wide variety of dental issues that range from filling cavities to protecting against gum disease. Routine dental visits often include x-rays, oral hygiene tips and thorough teeth cleaning, but a dentist can also repair or remove damaged teeth, install bridges or crowns, whiten teeth and perform root canals. Seeing your dentist twice a year is recommended for optimal dental health.

How is an orthodontist different?

Correcting the alignment of your teeth and jaw is what an orthodontist does best. After completing the four-year doctoral program, a dentist must undergo two to three more years of training to become an orthodontist. During your first visit, the orthodontist will evaluate your bite to determine if any interventions, such as braces, are needed to promote optimal oral health. Crooked or misaligned teeth are not just cosmetic issues, but can lead to more serious problems like speech impediments and lockjaw if not treated properly. Early evaluations are the key to success, so if you are worried about your child’s teeth, it may be time for your kids to see an orthodontist.

Who should I see?

Dentists and orthodontists do share a common goal of bringing out your best smile, but it’s easy to see that they are very different fields. While dentists specialize in cleaning and protecting your teeth from disease, orthodontists are primarily focused on straightening crooked teeth and correcting misaligned jaws.

Schedule an appointment with a dentist if you:

  • Are concerned about the health of your teeth or gums
  • Are experiencing tooth pain that may be caused by a cavity or tooth decay
  • Want to develop a better oral hygiene plan to protect against gum disease

Schedule an appointment with an orthodontist if you:

  • Want to straighten your crooked or overcrowded teeth
  • Have trouble chewing or speaking properly due to a misaligned bite
  • Suspect your jaw pain may be related to dental problems

At Seligman Orthodontics, PLLC, we’re proud to offer orthodontics NYC residents can depend on, so please contact us if you want to find out more information.

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