You have a toothache. You want to alleviate the pain so you need to go to a professional. You think to yourself, “Do I go to the dentist or an orthodontist?” The answer: it depends. Today, we’re going to break down the difference between dentists and orthodontists so you can make an educated decision when that toothache comes knocking.
What’s a dentist?
A dentist is a healthcare professional who is trained to diagnose, treat, and prevent diseases and conditions of the teeth and gums. The dentist’s main focus is on the health of your teeth and gums. They can also help you with cosmetic dental procedures such as teeth whitening.
What are the benefits of visiting a dentist?
Regular visits to the dentist can help catch problems early before they become more serious. These appointments also give the dentist a chance to clean your teeth and check for any signs of tooth decay or gum disease.
You can also get your teeth professionally cleaned at the dentist. This can help remove any build-up of plaque and tartar on your teeth that brushing and flossing at home may not be able to remove.
What’s an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a type of dentist who specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The goal of an orthodontist is to improve the function and appearance of your teeth. They do this by straightening teeth or aligning them properly.
What are the benefits of visiting an orthodontist?
An orthodontist can help you achieve straighter teeth which can lead to a healthier mouth overall. They can also improve your bite, which can lead to better chewing and digestion. Straighter teeth can also boost your self-esteem and confidence.
When to go to a dentist?
You should visit a dentist at least once a year for a check-up. You may need to visit more often if you have a history of dental problems or if you are at a higher risk for developing them. Some people tend to visit the dentist’s office only when they have a problem, but this is not ideal.
By visiting regularly, you can help prevent problems before they start. Wisdom teeth extraction, for example, is a procedure that is best done before the teeth start to cause problems.
When to go to an orthodontist?
An orthodontist can help you at any age, but it’s recommended that you visit around age seven. This is because some baby teeth may need to be removed before starting treatment. By age seven, most of the permanent teeth have come in, which makes it a good time to assess whether orthodontic treatment is necessary.
You may also want to consider visiting an orthodontist if you are unhappy with the way your teeth look. Even if you don’t have any dental problems, an orthodontist can improve the appearance of your smile.
An orthodontist can help correct problems with your teeth and bite. You may want to consider visiting an orthodontist if you have any of the following issues:
- Your teeth are crowded or too close together
- Your teeth are spaced too far apart
- You have an overbite, underbite, or crossbite
- Your teeth are not aligned properly
- You have jaw pain or TMJ
Dentist vs. orthodontist
Now that we’ve gone over what each type of professional does, let’s compare them side-by-side.
Dentists are focused on the overall health of your teeth and gums. They can also help with cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening.
Orthodontists specialize in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Their goal is to improve the function and appearance of your teeth.
Some people may need to see both a dentist and an orthodontist for different reasons. For example, you may see a dentist for regular cleanings and check-ups while seeing an orthodontist for braces or other dental appliances.
In conclusion, dentists and orthodontists are both professionals who can help you maintain good oral health. Dentists focus on the overall health of your teeth and gums while orthodontists specialize in correcting dental and facial irregularities.
If you have any concerns about your teeth or mouth, be sure to see a dentist or orthodontist for an evaluation. By visiting these professionals regularly, you can help keep your mouth healthy and avoid serious problems down the road.