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

Some people aren’t too sure about the differences between a regular dentist and an orthodontist, especially if they’ve never needed orthodontics in the past.

Both dentists and orthodontists deal with teeth. They’re also both doctors.

So, what makes them different in the overall field of dentistry?

Most of us have visited dentists many times, so we more or less understand what they do. They check your oral health, professionally clean your teeth, fill any cavities and provide on-going advice, amongst other things.

But what happens when you visit an orthodontist?

While a dentist and an orthodontist both address teeth issues, there is a clear difference: orthodontists deal with teeth, bite and jaw alignment, where as dentists broadly deal with teeth and gum health.

The Differences Between Dentists and Orthodontists

There are certainly both differences and similarities between the two. For instance, both dentists and orthodontists require tertiary study to become dentists. However, an orthodontist will complete further education in a dental specialty – Orthodontics. Think of it as similar to the way in which a general practise doctor needs additional education to become a surgeon.

What’s more, orthodontists specialise in correcting the alignment of your teeth, fitting you for corrective devices and improving your bite. If you do have an issue woth your bite, your dentist will refer you to a specialist orthodontist.

Let’s break it down and take a look at exactly how dentists and orthodontist can help you.


It’s a dentist’s job to encourage good oral hygiene. A dentist can help you with:

  • Crowns
  • Root canals
  • Tooth decay
  • Bridges
  • Gum disease
  • Teeth whitening
  • Veneers


Orthodontists are dentists who have undergone further training. An orthodontist specialises in teeth alignment. So, you will typically visit an orthodontist if you have:

  • An overbite
  • An underbite
  • Crowded teeth
  • Misaligned teeth

On the whole, orthodontists deal with crooked teeth and misaligned bites. and they can also assist with temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Additional problems with your jaw can be treated by an orthodontist.

While dentists are trained to provide orthodontic care as well as extractions, fillings and TMJ treatments, entrusting your smile to an orthodontist can balance the different procedures you require for a straight, healthy smile.

If you need help with misaligned teeth or jaw problems, book a consultation with Dr. Geoffrey Wexler today to discuss your orthodontic options.

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