Dentist Vs Orthodontist – What’s The Difference?

You have probably heard the term Orthodontist before, and chances are you might even think it to simply be another name for a dentist.

However, there are important differences between a dentist and an orthodontist, and each has their own role to play in the health of your smile.

In today’s post we are going to try to shed some light on the differences between a dentist and an orthodontist to help you decide which one can best assist you with your dental situation.

 

What Does An Orthodontist Do?

An orthodontist is different from a dentist in that an orthodontist specialises in one specific area of dentistry.

While a dentist is concerned with the whole of your oral health and hygiene, an orthodontist has a specialist role to play and is concerned solely with the bite and alignment of your teeth.

The work that your orthodontist carries out on your smile may encompass a whole range of dental procedures and techniques, but the overriding goal is always to obtain a more favourable alignment of your teeth for optimal oral health, function, and appearance.

 

Why Should You Visit An Orthodontist?

An Orthodontist can help you achieve a more natural bite and make your teeth align more comfortably. While there are some obvious cosmetic benefits to this, your Orthodontists goal is usually to improve your oral health, hygiene and function as a result of this improved bite alignment.

An improperly aligned bite can have significant knock on effects in other areas of your oral health as well as your general well being too.

An improperly aligned bite can:

  • Make some teeth more difficult to reach when brushing and flossing, resulting in a build up of bacteria that will eventually lead to more complicated dental problems
  • Put strain on your jaw, causing joint ache and soreness
  • Cause unintended injuries like accidental biting of the cheeks and lips
  • Lead to difficulties in chewing food

 

When Should I See An Orthodontist?

If you need to see a specialist Orthodontist, your dentist will usually refer you to one after your regular dental checkups.

Most commonly, patients will be referred to an Orthodontist at an early childhood age once permanent teeth have started developing. This is the first stage where Orthodontic issues start to become apparent, and treating them at the outset is often easiest and most beneficial in the long run.

Occasionally though, adults can be referred to the Orthodontist if changes in their bite alignment happen as they age, or if bite issues have remained unaddressed from a younger age.

If you think you may benefit from seeing an Orthodontist, the first step should always be to book an appointment with your regular dentist to discuss your concerns in more detail. Modern day cosmetic dentistry provides lots of potential solutions that may help to diagnose and address some of your bite issues without requiring a visit to an Orthodontist. One such treatment is Invisalign, which has become an extremely popular teeth straightening treatment here in our Calgary clinic over recent years. 

Another treatment of bite issues is the design and implementation of orthotics custom-fitted to your bite.

Other options include reshaping crowns to better fit and even extracting wisdom teeth to make more space for your remaining teeth.

If your dentist finds that your bite issues are more complex and require a specialist opinion however, they will always be happy to refer you to a trusted Orthodontist who can help you further.

If you have questions or concerns about whether you need to see an Orthodontist, call Kherani Dental at Aspen at 403-263-0055 or Book an Appointment online.

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