Orthodontists and dentists are both medical professionals who help patients improve their oral health. However, they do it in different ways. Dentistry is a broader medical specialty that deals with the teeth, gums, nerves, and jaw, while orthodontics is a specialty within the field of dentistry that focuses on correcting bites, occlusion, and the straightness of teeth.
A dentist will usually recommend or refer you to an orthodontist. The orthodontic profession is a more narrow and specialized focus in dental medicine. All orthodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are licensed and qualified orthodontists.
What a Dentist Does
A dentist operates in the area of oral health and general dentistry. Dentistry is a broader medical specialty than orthodontics. Dentists typically attend to good oral hygiene and provide services such as:
- Treating infections
- Identifying and treating cavities
- Diagnosing gum disease
- Recognizing the need for and treating root canals
- Installing crowns, bridges, and veneers
- Applying tooth-strengthening fluoride treatments
- Performing tooth whitening procedures
- Tooth extractions
- And dealing with many other general issues involving the teeth, jaw, gums, and nerves in the oral cavity
What an Orthodontist Does
An orthodontist deals specifically with managing the bite, occlusions, and the alignment of the teeth. If you or your child need to have your bite fixed or your teeth straightened, then you will likely need to seek the assistance of an orthodontic professional who has the qualifications and experience to address those matters. Orthodontics is a specialty within dentistry. Orthodontists provide services such as:
- Correcting misaligned teeth
- Improving the spacing of crowded teeth
- Improving the bite
- Correcting overbites, overjets, underbites, overcrowding of teeth, eliminating spaces between the teeth, and the treatment of temporomandibular disorders
- Fitting corrective braces and orthodontic devices
- Treating problems with the jaw
- Tooth extractions
Orthodontists require additional schooling to become licensed and qualified in their dental specialty. This is similar to a physician who undergoes further education and training to become a surgeon.
When to seek help after a dental injury
If you have been injured in an accident that causes an impact to the head or mouth, you may need to seek the services of a dentist or an orthodontist. Repairs to chipped, fractured, or broken teeth may be necessary. If teeth are knocked out of place or entirely from the mouth, they may need to be repaired by bonding, stabilizing, or replacing.
Repairs done by dental or orthodontic professionals can be costly. However, many people feel it is worth the time and money to have an attractive, well-aligned smile. If an accident led to your dental or orthodontic needs, you might want to consider what to do next if another person or party was at fault for the injury. You may need to file a personal injury lawsuit to recoup the cost of your dental and orthodontic bills.
Make sure your orthodontic professional and your personal injury attorney are working together to produce and secure evidence for your injury claim. You shouldn’t have to pay the price when someone else’s actions threaten your dental health. Contact and orthodontist, like the office of John Redmond Orthodontics for a consultation.