Why is a Dentist not an [Orthodontist]?

orthodontistLAST UPDATED: SEPTEMBER 28, 2017

Many people do not fully understand the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist. This is the first step to receiving the treatment that will actually correspond to the service that you are looking for. In case you have had questions in the past, then here are your answers.


Why is a dentist not an orthodontist?

If you look at the definition of an orthodontist literally, an orthodontist actually is a dentist with a specialty. A dentist, however, is not necessarily an orthodontist.

Both a dentist and an orthodontist will have similar educational backgrounds. Both the dentist and orthodontist must apply to dental school having already achieved a bachelor’s degree at an accredited four-year institution. Assuming that this individual is accepted into dental school, a four-year program will commence that will end with that individual being confirmed as a DDS. Some schools will refer to DDS as a DMD degree, but both of the distinctions have the same educational criteria attached to them.

Someone who is looking to practice dentistry, in general, can open an office at this point. If that individual is looking to move into orthodontics, however, an additional program must be completed for this distinction. The new dentist must serve a residency of either two or three years at a facility that has been approved by the American Dental Association. The residency must also be approved by the American Board of Orthodontics. At the point of completion of this residency, a dentist will have the distinction of attaching an MS to his or her name. MS stands for “master of science” and is meant to distinguish dentists with a specialty in orthodontics from those who do not have that specialty.

Overall, being either a dentist or orthodontist requires an extensive amount of schooling. However, an orthodontist will usually have to go through over 10 years of school while a dentist may be able to practice with only eight years of schooling.

Should you go to a dentist or an orthodontist for your next treatment?

You may be confused as to whether you should visit the office of a dentist or an orthodontist. You will need to determine your doctor by the type of service that you need. It is usually best to understand exactly what a dentist does as opposed to an orthodontist.

Orthodontists can handle procedures such as x-rays, checkups, cleanings, gum care, filling cavities, teeth whitening, crowns, veneers, and bridges. There may also be some additional coursework that an orthodontist will complete for you. Any kind of realignment should also be done by a certified orthodontist and not a dentist.

What exactly does an orthodontist do?

An orthodontist is a dentist that specializes in the alignment of your teeth.

Your teeth are connected to many different areas in your body including your spinal cord, your brain stem and other parts of your central nervous system. A misaligned jaw or even just one tooth out of place can cause chronic migraines, imbalance and inability to stand, brain fog and even hearing loss. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned here, then you may want to go see an orthodontist as soon as possible. Even if you do not have to receive realignment treatment, the preliminary research may be able to pinpoint a problem in your dental work.

Your orthodontist may also be able to diagnose and prevent alignment problems. Many young people get braces or retainers not because their teeth are incredibly misplaced, but rather because they are trying to avoid this complication later in life. If you have overcrowded teeth, an overbite, an underbite or large gaps in your mouth, you can definitely receive treatment that will likely help you a great deal at the office of a good orthodontist.

It is recommended for kids as early as age 7, to start seeing an orthodontist in order to prevent future misalignment. Doing so will also lessen the treatment cost, given that orthodontic procedures done on kids is faster compared to those done in adults as their bones have already hardened. Complications can be avoided with early orthodontic visits.

Additionally, having a mouth that is properly aligned can help you avoid many other dental problems as well. If you have overcrowded teeth, then you may not be able to clean them in a way that will keep you from getting cavities. Not properly cleaning your teeth will result in bacteria buildup which later on causes tooth decay. Properly aligned teeth reduce the risks of getting tooth decay in early years as they can be properly brushed and flossed.

why a Dentist is not an Orthodontist

dentist vs orthodontist

If you have large gaps in your mouth, then you may be blocking the natural movement of other teeth in your mouth. As they move, they will cause a great deal of discomfort and possibly tooth loss if the misalignment is not handled. This is especially important for young people who are just receiving their second set of teeth.

It is much smarter to deal with one tooth that is out of place rather than waiting and possibly dealing with an entire jaw that may be misaligned. This is why orthodontic services are important in preventing tooth decay and tooth loss, not just making a smile look better. Today’s orthodontists will also be able to recommend treatments that are cosmetically pleasing.

Various types of braces such as Invisalign allows patients to undergo treatment without it making too obvious. Invisalign are clear aligners in which the patients can remove while eating and brushing. It is also very comfortable to wear.

McDermott Orthodontics – Office Tour

If you are looking for an experienced Brainerd orthodontics office, then you need to look no further than the office of Dr. Mike McDermott. Whether you are looking for an Invisalign administrator or a specialized program, you can get exactly what you want. Give us a call or an email so that we can create your program immediately!

McDermott Orthodontics

304 East River Rd
Brainerd, MN 56401

Phone: 218-829-1630