Orthodontists and dentists share many things in common – both work to help you improve your overall oral health – but they actually work in very different ways: Dentists take care of your wider oral health; Orthodontics is a specialism within dentistry that focuses on straightening your teeth and making sure your bite is correct.
Dentistry is a broad medical speciality that deals with oral health – specifically your teeth, gums, nerves in the mouth, and jaw – whereas orthodontics is a speciality within dentistry that is concerned with correcting your bite, how your teeth meet together, and the alignment of your teeth. A general dentist looks after your mouth in a similar way to your GP looks after your body: they are skilled general practitioners who can diagnose and treat problems and common diseases, whereas orthodontists are registered dental specialists who have completed additional training.
While all orthodontists are qualified dentists, not all dentists are orthodontists. As well as a regular dental degree, orthodontists must complete an additional three years of full-time specialist University training in orthodontics (they hold a General Dental Degree + Specialist Orthodontic Degree).
A dentist will focus on helping you maintain your oral health, prevent problems and address issues that may arise. They are likely to offer restorative treatments such as fillings, root canal work, crowns, bridges, and dentures; they may also offer the services of a dedicated hygienist. Private dentists tend to cover a breadth of cosmetic dental treatments too, including veneers, white fillings, teeth whitening, and dental implants.
On the other hand, orthodontists focus on teeth straightening and fixing any bite or jaw issues. Some orthodontists do work in a broader dental setting and offer general and cosmetic dentistry procedures in addition to teeth straightening, such as composite bonding and teeth whitening. Whereas others concentrate on orthodontics exclusively so they are able to deal with more complex cases and offer a wider range of teeth straightening options.
Most patients start by visiting a general or cosmetic dentist, and are then referred to an orthodontist if it becomes apparent that they would benefit from straighter teeth. For example, if a patient is experiencing headaches or jaw problems that could be caused by their bite, a general dentist may recommend that they speak to an orthodontist.
However, if you specifically want to discuss issues with your bite and tooth alignment, there is no need to wait for a referral. You can book an appointment for a consultation with an orthodontist yourself, and Toothfairy™ even offers a free initial online consultation, so it’s easier than ever to start your teeth straightening journey from the comfort of your home.
Achieving your dream smile can be easy, quick and affordable. Find out how to get started today by booking a free virtual consultation with Toothfairy™. https://www.toothfairyapp.co.uk/