Without knowing much else about either profession, most people at least understand that dentists and orthodontists both work with teeth. However, it is very important to appreciate that both professions specialize in very different aspects of the teeth.

In other words, just because you have a dentist doesn’t mean you don’t also need an orthodontist. While there are some similarities between the two, chances are good that you may need to make good use of both over the course of your life or the lives of your children. Knowing the difference between the professions may help you make a smarter decision about where to go for which services.

What Dentists Do

A general dentist is your primary care dental provider, which means they take care of their patients’ dental health, including biannual cleanings, gum care, root canals, fillings, crowns, and veneers. Most of their job boils down to the health of the tooth and the overall aesthetic of individual teeth. If you have a cavity that needs to be filled or a cracked tooth that needs to be repaired, a dentist is the person to visit. In a nutshell, they keep your teeth healthy.

What Orthodontists Do

Orthodontists are a little different. They are more focused on the quality and function of a patient’s bite and the esthetics of the patient’s smile. They are specialists that not only straighten crooked teeth but also close spaces in a smile and move or remove problem teeth preventing a smile from looking great or a jaw-full of teeth from masticating food. They often prescribe dental and orthodontic appliances to help ensure these things happen.

Why Everyone Needs Both

The main reason that patients need both a dentist and an orthodontist is that both are effectively specialists. While there are some dentists that do offer some orthodontic care, the reality is that many dentists would rather recommend trusted orthodontic specialist in the area to get their patients more specialized Invisalign treatment.

Put it this way: if the air conditioning stops working in a home, would you rather call a general Mr. (or Mrs.) Fix-It that does a little bit of everything in home repair, or would you rather call someone who works only on air conditioners all day every day?

There is a very good chance that you’d rather hire the air conditioner person because they have extra training and extra experience in the area that matters most for getting that air conditioner working again. Dentists have areas in which they are experts, and orthodontists have areas in which they are specialists. Any one doctor trying to be an expert at both will struggle more than someone focusing on mastering one or the other.

Contact an Experienced Orthodontist

Here at Clearsmile Orthodontics, we specialize in orthodontic care, and we are happy to give you a free consultation to discover how we can help you get your smile looking perfect and your bite chomping more effectively. If you’re interested, stop by or give us a call any time, and we’ll be happy to help however we can!