What’s the Difference? Dentist vs Orthodontist

If you’ve ever been told you need orthodontal work done, you may be confused by the difference of dentist vs orthodontist. Here, we cover common differences between dentists and orthodontists, including orthodontal specialties, treatments, and more. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the topic. 

What Is a Dentist?

Dentist vs OrthodontistWhen asked to picture a standard dentist, most think of a family dentist. These dentists work with patients to treat and identify a wide range of dental problems and provide basic dental care to their patients. Family dentists work with patients of all ages to clean and maintain their teeth. These dentists offer various treatments and procedures, from general cleaning and dental maintenance to fillings and dental crowns. Some family dentists also work as oral surgeons, allowing them to perform extractions, though not all dentists are oral surgeons. 


A family dentist can identify underlying dental issues and refer their patient to the right specialist. For example, if you need braces, your dentist will likely refer you to an orthodontist. Part of being a family dentist is working to match patients with other professionals to treat specific dental issues. 


By working closely with their patients to find the right treatment options for them, family dentists can ensure the best quality of care for their patients. You can think of your family dentist as a primary care provider (PCP), as they take care of your day-to-day dental concerns and can refer you to another specialist for other issues.  

What Is an Orthodontist?

Why use an Orthodontist over a dentist for braces?Orthodontist comes from two Greek words: “orthos,” meaning straight or upright, and “odon,” meaning tooth. Based on the definition alone, then, orthodontists straighten teeth. But, of course, orthodontists do much more than just realign your teeth. They do much more for your mouth than simply moving your teeth, including fixing bite alignment issues, correcting palate abnormalities, and more. 


If you’ve ever had braces, you’ve likely seen an orthodontist. Most people associate orthodontists with braces work and dental realignment, which is an accurate assumption, though orthodontists can deal with many dental issues. If you have dental crowding, spaces between your teeth, odd bite overlaps, or jaw abnormalities, your orthodontist can help. 


While a general dentist helps treat your overall dental health and can make recommendations to help with spacing, jaw issues, and more, an orthodontist specializes in these areas, giving them extra insight and expertise into all dental alignment-related areas. From braces and clear aligners to full dental headgear to correct bite alignment problems, orthodontists work to give their patients straighter, healthier smiles. 


Here at Cohen Family Smiles, not only do we offer family dentistry, but we also offer early orthodontic treatments, allowing you to get the dental care you need all in one place. To schedule an appointment or for general questions, call us at (914) 245-2965. Our team of trained dental professionals would be happy to speak with you about any number of dental procedures and concerns. 






Leave a Reply