What’s the Difference Between an Orthodontist and a Dentist?


Who doesn’t want to have Angelina Jolie ‘s smile? Teeth perfectly aligned and in the perfect shade of white, a smile so bright that she blinds cameras every time they take a picture of her. Even though a smile like that costs a lot of money, it doesn’t mean you should give up on achieving that ideal: healthy, clean, perfectly aligned, white teeth. Do you need to visit a cosmetic dentist for that purpose? It depends. The first check-up will set the diagnose and determine whether you need to visit a dentist or an orthodontist. There’s a lot of confusion among people about the difference between these two terms. Here’s what you need to know to distinguish them.

Orthodontist Dentist

In both cases it takes a lot of studying and a lot of practice. After obtaining their bachelor’s degree, both profiles need to apply to dental school and be accepted. Once in, a 4-year long doctoral program must be passed and then a long dentistry practice begins. After finishing this practice, dentists earn one of the two titles: D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or D.D.M (Doctor of Dental Medicine) .Up to here, you are a dentist. To become an orthodontist, a dentist must go through a 2-3 years long residency at an University affiliated program of orthodontics approved by the state. After finishing this program, an orthodontist will obtain a license for practicing orthodontics by a state dental association, and will tag his name to one of the two titles D.D.S. or D.D.M. and also add M.S. or Master of Science.

A dentist takes care of your overall oral health; diagnoses, treats and manages all aspects of oral health. This means that, if you need a check-up, an X-ray of your teeth, a simple cleaning procedure, removing or repairing your teeth, filling cavities and similar, you’d go to your dentist. A dentist will also have a few other employees with him that will take care of the x-ray, the cleaning and other simpler tasks as help for the dentist. And if the dentist diagnoses a problem or a condition that requires surgery, he will sent you to a licensed orthodontist.

An orthodontist or a cosmetic dentist, will use techniques and procedures for teeth alignment and to make space for new teeth to come out freely. As a cosmetic dentist, he will determine whether you need wires, braces, retainers or other corrective devices to strengthen teeth and retrain mouth muscles.

Have one thing in mind; one bad tooth can cause a domino effect in your mouth. Preventing this domino effect and taking really good care of your pearly whites is the first step towards achieving the Angelina Jolie smile.

Goran Nikolov is a content writer of Protista, a website where you can find a lot of interesting lists. He is from Macedonia and has a passion to write lists about everything that surrounds him, especially about sports, health, music, technology and history. Goran loves to play basketball in his free time, enjoys playing on his guitar and sharing his thoughts with others.