What’s The Difference Between A Dentist And An Orthodontist?

The first thing most people think about when it comes to their oral health is visiting their dentist regularly for cleaning and other dental concerns. While this is highly recommended, there is another dental professional that you should also consider visiting: the orthodontist. Many are under the impression that an orthodontist is just a fancy term for the dentist, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Here are the main differences and some similarities between a dentist and the best orthodontist in Reston. After learning more about these different dental care specialists you will be able to decide which one you should see next.

The Educational Background

The road to becoming a dentist or an orthodontist starts out on the same path. Both are required to get their Bachelor’s degree and then once completed they must continue to dental school. Dental programs take four years and a graduate from the doctoral program can start practicing general dentistry.

As for an orthodontist they are required to serve at a two or three-year residency for orthodontics in a duly accredited and university-affiliated program. After the residency, an orthodontist should get certified by the board of orthodontics before practicing.

What Can A Dentist Do?

In general, patients visit their dental care provider for the overall care and maintenance of their mouth, teeth, and gums. Usually, routine dental services such as check-ups, cleaning, and x-ray are done by a general dentist without any issue. Some even perform services such as filling cavities, root canals, teeth whitening, and other common dental procedures with the help of a few dental hygienists.

There are some general dentists that also take extra courses and training so that they can offer some orthodontic work, but it is more common for them to refer a patient when the treatment is beyond their scope of work.

When To See An Orthodontist?

The biggest sign that you need to see the best orthodontist in Reston is when your family dentist tells you. This indicates that the treatment needed is better performed by an experienced orthodontist that handles similar cases as yours. With the additional years of education, plus their training in certain fields of dental specialization, you are in good hands.

Aside from a recommendation from your dentist, other situations where seeking treatment from an orthodontist is advisable is in cases of malocclusion, or misaligned teeth that cause jaw problems. An orthodontist specializes in offering non-surgical treatment for teeth and jaw alignment.

Complications such as crooked teeth, bad bites, under and overbites, and overcrowding are best handled by a certified orthodontist. The sooner you see a specialist, the better especially for younger children because fixing and realigning teeth of younger kids is easier and less painful than in teenagers and adults.

Regular Dental Visits Are Key

Whether you see a general dentist or your orthodontist, it is best to schedule regular check-ups. This way, any serious complications can be diagnosed and treated early. The aim of all dental professionals is to ensure your teeth, mouth, and gums stay healthy for as long as possible.

If you are looking for the best orthodontist in Reston, visit us at Stang Family Orthodontics. We provide top quality care to meet your orthodontic needs.