Whether you or your child has a dental condition best treated with braces, it is a good idea to seek treatment at the earliest opportunity. While there is no upper age limit for wearing braces, they work faster on teenagers and children because our bones become more solid with age. If you’re already an adult, you may see no need to hurry, but the sooner you start a course of treatment, the sooner you can enjoy a beautiful smile.

Whatever type of braces you would like to have fitted, there is one question you will need to answer before you start to make any concrete plans: when it comes to a dentist vs. an orthodontist for braces, which is the right choice? To help you find the answer you seek, we have gathered essential information about these types of dental professions.

Dentist vs. orthodontist for braces: what do these professionals do?

You probably already know many things that dentists do, and you may have a good idea of what orthodontists do. However, to make sure you have all the information you need, let’s take a closer look at what each type of dental expert does:

  • Dentists 

Generally speaking, you may consider a dentist as an oral health doctor. A licensed dentist is qualified to diagnose and treat various oral health conditions related to the teeth, gums, tongue and mouth. 

A dentist is trained to perform various procedures such as teeth and gum cleaning, filling cavities, removing teeth, issuing dental veneers, crowns and dentures, repairing cracked teeth, root canal treatment, and teeth whitening, amongst others.

  • Orthodontists 

Orthodontists must complete the same qualifications as a dentist, practice general dentistry for at least two years and then pursue further studies to obtain a specialist degree. Orthodontists spend another three years obtaining the knowledge they need to take care of teeth and jaw alignment issues in adults and children. After completing rigorous final examinations, the clinician is qualified to supervise the facial growth of children, looking for issues such as jawline misalignment and overbite. They can also diagnose and treat misaligned teeth using various treatment options, such as braces and retainers. Furthermore, they can prescribe other dental appliances to straighten crooked or misaligned teeth. The orthodontist also cooperates with other dental specialties to treat more complex cases, some involving surgery to correct jaw discrepancies and to align teeth that might be stuck or impacted inside the jaw. 

We can answer our original question by knowing what these two types of dental professionals do and what qualification process they follow, we can answer our original question.

Dentist vs. orthodontist for braces: which one do you visit?

Although some dentists may perform a selection of basic orthodontic procedures, this is not an area in which they specialise. If you think of dentists and orthodontists as regular doctors, a dentist is like a general practitioner, while an orthodontist is a specialist; they exclusively deal with a patient’s orthodontic needs and refer back to the dentist or another specialist for any procedure outside the scope of orthodontics. In the same way, you would see a specialist if you had a particular type of physical problem elsewhere in your body, it is advisable to consult an orthodontist when you have teeth or jaw alignment problems.
In summary, when considering a dentist vs. an orthodontist for braces, you should consider the areas in which each type of dental professional has chosen to specialise. An orthodontist is an obvious choice when seeking teeth and jaw alignment treatment. See our FAQs or contact us today if you have more questions about this subject.