The Braces Debate – Dentist or Orthodontist?

When people meet the first thing they notice is the other person’s eyes, second teeth and third hair.  If so, why do most people worry more about who cuts their hair than who straightens their teeth?

When you are ready to explore braces, how do you know who to call?  What is the difference between a dentist who offers orthodontics and an orthodontist?

Dentists and orthodontists are both doctors and have graduated from dental school.  However, dental school includes only minimal education on straightening teeth.  Dentists who offer braces are certified through training during a few months of weekend courses.  An orthodontist requires 2-3 years of additional schooling as a dental specialty; the situation is similar to a doctor who obtains additional schooling to become a surgeon.  Only those with a specialty degree in orthodontics can call themselves Orthodontists.

A dentist who offers braces can be a great alternative for a quick crooked front tooth.  But, for treatment focused on correcting the overall health and function of your bite, orthodontists are more knowledgeable and offer a wider range of treatment options for long term success.  Orthodontists provide services related to:

  • Misaligned teethAlignerProfiles
  • Spaces between teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Overbite, under bite and cross bite
  • Jaw problems

Whether you choose a dentist or orthodontist for your braces, we always recommend at least seeking the opinion on an orthodontist.  Pretty smiles do not always equal a healthy bite.