Orthodontists and dentists both work in the field of oral healthcare – so their daily business involves taking care of people’s teeth.
However, while they are both dental practitioners, the type of work they do and the areas they focus on are different.
General dentistry focuses on keeping teeth and gums healthy, while the main concern of orthodontics is making sure teeth and jaws are aligned to form a healthy bite.
If you are not sure what the difference is, this can cause confusion over whether you need a dentist appointment or an orthodontist appointment for your particular dental issue.
As a leading orthodontist in London, in addition to providing cosmetic dental services, Finsbury Dental Care explains how orthodontic treatments are different.
Which treatments do dentists provide?
Qualified dentists are trained to identify and treat problems with the teeth, gums, tongue, and other tissues throughout the mouth.
Like GPs – general healthcare practitioners – are the primary contact for non-emergency health concerns, dentists are the first contact for oral healthcare.
In the same way that a GP can refer you to a medical specialist to diagnose a specific health problem, dentists can also refer you to dental specialists – such as orthodontists.
Routine responsibilities for a general dentist include assessing patients’ teeth and overall oral health at regular check-ups and advising on preventative measures to avoid gum disease and tooth decay through good oral hygiene.
Dentists can also treat active gum disease and cavities, from fillings to tooth extractions.
Some dentists focus on child (paediatric) dentistry, while others focus on all-ages dentistry. Trained dental hygienists can also perform professional teeth cleaning services, such as scale and polish treatments.
Some may also train and qualify as cosmetic dentists, providing aesthetic treatments to improve the appearance of their patient’s teeth.
At Finsbury Dental Care, our dental services include white fillings, teeth whitening, veneers, composite bonding, crowns, and dental implants.
Which treatments do orthodontists provide?
Orthodontics is a speciality within the general field of dentistry, requiring further training after dental school to qualify as an orthodontist.
Orthodontists assess the spacing of teeth and alignment of jaws to diagnose malocclusions, which occur when the upper and lower teeth do not bite together the way they should.
There are many different types of malocclusion, from tooth gaps and overcrowding to crossbites, overbites, and underbites – all requiring bespoke corrective treatment.
Even if the teeth themselves are healthy, a misaligned bite can cause countless problems, including difficulty eating and speaking, and an increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
Not to mention the low self-esteem that visibly misaligned teeth and jaws can cause.
This is why orthodontic treatments are so important, and why orthodontists typically treat children, whose teeth and jaws are still developing – making it easier to guide them into the proper position as they grow.
However, adult orthodontic treatments are also available, as it’s never too late to correct orthodontic problems that may be having a negative impact on your life.
Common orthodontic appliances include fixed braces, removable aligners, and retainers that maintain the new teeth positions after treatment plans are complete.
For example, Invisalign aligners – which we offer at Finsbury Dental Care – are one of the most popular teeth-straightening solutions for teens and adults.
Orthodontist vs Dentist: Which one do you need?
Do you need a regular check-up to make sure your teeth and gums are in good shape? Are you concerned about sore gums or a cavity?
Then your first port of call should be to make an appointment with a dentist.
Do you have crooked teeth that you wish were straighter? Are you experiencing jaw pain or other problems because your upper and lower teeth overlap?
In this case, you will need to speak to an orthodontist to discuss possible treatments.
If you are hoping to straighten your teeth but would prefer a more discreet option than traditional braces, Invisalign at Finsbury Dental Care could be the answer.