There are dentists and orthodontists in the field of oral health. Doctors who have studied general dentistry can carry out diagnosis and treatment of conditions that affect teeth, gums, mouth and tongue. Then there are orthodontists who have a specialized field within oral health.
If you are wondering about the difference between orthodontic treatment and dental treatment, orthodontic treatment is a specialised branch of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of teeth and jaw misalignment in addition to general dentistry. Generally, a dentist is accepted to college on a pre-medical or pre-dentistry degree and then will graduate from a dentistry school. They are required to have experience and training before becoming certified. Once the dentist becomes certified, they can treat general oral health conditions. They can also clean your teeth. A dentist will be able to extract teeth, repair cracked teeth, fill cavities, fill and bond teeth, treat gum disease and carry out oral surgery. They will also do certain cosmetic dentistry tasks such as teeth whitening and the installation of veneers and crowns. They can conduct an X-ray and interpret the findings.
While an orthodontist can treat general oral health conditions, they mostly specialise in the correct alignment of teeth and jaws. They can diagnose misaligned teeth and jaws to provide treatment, specialise in braces and retainers and can also carry out teeth straightening surgery. There is also certain dental work that they can install such as palate expanders. When it comes to education, both dentists and orthodontists receive the same education but orthodontists will require additional educational certification in order to practice. You can think of a dentist as a professional similar to a general practitioner and an orthodontist is someone who specialises on a subject. If your issue is something that falls to general dentistry, it can easily be resolved by a dentist. These issues will include extraction of teeth, repairing of teeth, tooth decay and pain. There are also certain infections that can occur in the mouth and a dentist is well trained to respond to these problems as well. If you have a regular dentist that you go to, they will refer you to an orthodontist if there is a need.
Some of the reasons that a dentist will refer you to an orthodontist if you suffer from tooth crowding, jaw issues or there is a requirement to expand the palate. Also, it is recommended to take your children to be assessed by an orthodontist before they are seven years old to see whether they need to have braces. It’s a lot easier to correct teeth alignment issues during childhood. However, adults can wear braces as well and if you have an issue with crooked teeth or jawline, you can visit an orthodontist to see what kind of treatment they recommend. But you need to check whether your dental coverage includes the specific orthodontic care that you require. Some insurance companies will require a referral from a dentist before providing payment for your orthodontist visit.