You may have noticed that some dentists in New Jersey offer various types of orthodontic treatment. You may have then wondered why exactly so many dentists seem to offer the same types of treatment as these orthodontists. This is understandably confusing for people unfamiliar with the differences between dentists and orthodontists.

So… what’s the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist?

More importantly, what do you need to know when looking for a doctor to take care of your oral health? Where can a dentist get the job done, and when do you need the more specialized help of an orthodontist?

Read on to discover how dentists and orthodontists differ, how they are alike, and who you should be looking out for depending on the type of help you need.

1. A Dentist Can’t Do It All

Dentists are doctors who concern themselves with your oral health. Issues of the mouth, teeth, gums, and tongue can incapacitate anyone, so it’s absolutely key that those areas stay clean and healthy.

Dentists usually become fully certified after four years of university training (usually pre-med or pre-dentistry) and two to three years–sometimes more–of graduate training. This training nearly always includes experience in a dentist’s office working with patients in a training environment. Once certified, the dentist is then cleared to practice general dentistry.

Dentists do a lot, including x-rays, installing crowns, whitening teeth, cleaning teeth, and fill cavities. But the real distinction is in what they can’t do.

2. Orthodontists Are Specialized

Orthodontists and doctors who concern themselves, just like dentists, with oral health. Unlike dentists, orthodontists also focus on making sure a patient’s jaw and teeth are set correctly. Oftentimes–but not always!–this requires apparatuses like braces or palatal expanders.

Orthodontists first graduate from dental school (that’s right, they’re fully qualified dentists too!) and then continue on to an additional two (or more) years of training in specialized orthodontic care. Just like dentists, orthodontists undergo similar training in real offices working with patients.

After completing orthodontic certification, orthodontists can officially enter the field as a certified orthodontist.

The main difference between dentists and orthodontists is the difference in the number of procedures they are certified to do. In other words, orthodontists are qualified to do all a dentist can, and more. If a dentist is an MP3 player, then an orthodontist is a smartphone–capable of playing your favorite tunes just like the first, but with even more capabilities.

3. Dental Health Is More Than Healthy Gums

Yes, our team is trained to understand the ins and outs of your precious dental health, and while under our care your oral health will be taken into consideration at every step. After all, what good are well-set teeth in an unhealthy mouth?

However, your dental health doesn’t begin and end with simply making sure that your mouth, teeth, gums, and tongue are healthy. Misaligned teeth and jawbones can cause major pain and other issues if left unaddressed. We’ve seen many cases come and go, and have the experience to truly understand your case.

4. Misalignment is Costly

In more ways than one, misaligned teeth and jawbones can end up costing you more than you think. Misalignment (the technical term for this is “malocclusion”), depending on the severity, can affect everything from your dental health to your psychological well-being.

Improperly set teeth and jawbones open you up to major health risks later on in life like speech impediment, infection, difficulty breathing, and low self-esteem.

A good orthodontist takes time ensuring that all aspects of your dental health are considered, and takes steps during your treatment to make sure that things are done the right way, the first time.

5. You Took Early Steps

Several dental professionals recommend that children around the age of seven be examined by a dental professional to determine if orthodontic treatment is necessary.

At first glance, it may seem like overkill to bring in your seven-year-old for an orthodontist appointment. That is far from the truth! Children’s teeth and, in fact, their entire skeletal system, has much, much more growing to do after the age of seven. Identifying areas of concern around age seven is key in catching issues before they majorly impact the health of your child–and your wallet.

6. You Listened to Your Dentist

Dentists understand that their capabilities can only go so far. While they are extremely well-trained and are certified to address a range of issues related to the mouth, teeth, gums, and tongue, they cannot solve all dental issues.

A good dentist can recognize when their patient needs specialized help. In those cases, they refer their patients to an orthodontist. By doing so, the dentist ensures that their patient receives the best and most appropriate treatment possible.

If your dentist recommends an orthodontist, listen! Come see us so we can best address whatever issues you may have.

7. You Wanted Someone Local

Orthodontics are doctors, and we’re people too! Smiling faces around our local community brighten everyone’s day. From our New Jersey offices, we serve the orthodontic needs of patients in New Egypt, Allentown, and central Jersey. If you’re looking for an orthodontist in New Egypt, Allentown, or central Jersey, we are the practice for you!

Our Practice is the Right Fit for You

If you suspect that you need orthodontic treatment, we encourage you to make an appointment today! We have helped many other patients address a whole range of dental issues, and our commitment to providing great service and even better results is part of what makes us the best orthodontists in New Jersey.

If you’re already one of our awesome patients, we have a question for you to answer: What are some reasons that OUR practice was the right choice for YOU? We want to hear all about your experiences with us and why you wouldn’t want to go anyplace else for expert orthodontic treatment.

Let us know! Your reviews, comments, and shares are always helpful to us.

Thanks for your trust in our practice!