Orthodontist vs. Dentist: Which One Should You Visit?

A close-up of a person with braces getting a check up

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When it comes to dental care, knowing whether you should see an orthodontist or a dentist can sometimes be confusing. While both professionals work to improve oral health, they have different areas of expertise. This article will help you understand the roles of each and guide you in choosing the right professional for your specific needs.

What is the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?

While orthodontists and dentists work to improve oral health, they have different areas of expertise. Dentists focus on general oral health, including preventative care, diagnosing and treating oral diseases, and performing routine procedures like cleanings and fillings. Orthodontists, on the other hand, specialize in correcting misaligned teeth and jaws, using braces, aligners, and other orthodontic appliances to improve the appearance and function of the teeth and bite.

When should you see a dentist?

You should see a dentist for regular checkups and cleanings, as well as for any issues related to your teeth and gums. This can include cavities, gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss. Dentists can also provide cosmetic treatments such as teeth whitening and veneers.

When should you see an orthodontist?

You should see an orthodontist if you have issues with the alignment of your teeth or jaws. Such problems include crooked teeth, overcrowding, gaps, overbite, underbite, or crossbite. Orthodontists can also help with speech, chewing, and breathing issues. Both children and adults can also benefit from orthodontic treatment. Please visit our website for Treatment Options from Orthodontic Specialists.

Orthodontics for Children

Children between the ages of 4 and 11 still have actively growing jawbones. Orthodontists’ additional schooling trains them in interceptive orthodontics, also known as early orthodontic treatment or preventative treatment. Orthodontists can identify and correct potential bite problems in a child before the child fully develops to prevent more severe problems in later years. It’s recommended that children have their first orthodontic evaluation by age 7, as early intervention can prevent more serious problems from developing later on.

One unique thing we offer here at Orthodontic Specialists in St. George is our Kid’s Club program. This is FREE to all families with kids getting ready for braces. This program allows us to meet, x-ray, and monitor a child as their mouth is growing. With this initial information, we can evaluate the best time to start them with braces.

A Message from the American Association of Orthodontists

Please watch this entertaining and informative video from the AAO about choosing between a dentist and an orthodontist for straightening your teeth.

Why Should You Consider Orthodontic Treatment?

  • Straight teeth are healthy teeth — Teeth that are properly aligned are easier to keep clean with flossing and brushing and may help prevent other health problems.
  • A beautiful, straight smile builds confidence — Orthodontic treatment can help boost your self-confidence, giving you a better quality of life and the freedom to smile without holding back!
  • Mouths left untreated can get worse — Not receiving orthodontic treatment when it’s needed can create long-term health issues costing you more in the end.

To learn more about the benefits of adult or child orthodontics, please contact our practice to schedule an appointment. We understand that you have a busy schedule, and we will work with you to make sure each office visit is as convenient as possible.

Your Friendly Team
Orthodontic Specialists

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