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What’s The Difference Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist?

It’s always a great time to think about improving your smile, and it’s natural to have many questions while seeking orthodontic treatment. Prospective patients often ask us, “what’s the difference between dentists and orthodontists?” 

While dentists and orthodontists both specialize in smile health, the truth is: they are two separate professions. Learn more about the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist, and see why you should trust your smile with the experts at Lund Orthodontics. Schedule an appointment with us today!

What is a Dentist?

A dentist is a doctor who specializes in the general health of the teeth, gums, and jaw. They diagnose, prevent, and treat dental conditions, ensuring optimal dental health. Before becoming a certified dentist, you must complete 8 years of dental school.  

You should see your dentist two times a year for a cleaning, as they can help you maintain a more healthy smile. A dentist will let you know if you might benefit from orthodontic treatment and give you a referral to a trusted orthodontist.

We offer a free observation program to monitor your child’s growing smile. Regular screenings let you develop a comfortable relationship before your child needs treatment. Plus, your kid will get to enjoy some pretty sweet perks by joining our V.I.P. club.

What is an Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a certified dentist with an additional specialization in the structure of the teeth, gums, and jaw. They treat issues such as crowded and crooked teeth, jaw misalignments, overbites, underbites, and more. Using orthodontic appliances like braces, Invisalign, and retainers, an orthodontist can expertly craft your smile to be straight, functional, and beautiful.

Everyone’s smile is different, which means orthodontic treatment must be customized for every patient. Orthodontists have extensive skills to deal with any kind of smile challenge. The superstars at Lund Orthodontics have the knowledge and expertise needed to improve your smile. 

Education & Training

While dentists and orthodontists get the same foundational training, orthodontists must complete more extensive schooling before they can become certified. After becoming a general dentist, they must then be accepted into an orthodontic residency program. These residencies are extremely competitive, with many only accepting 2-4 of the brightest applicants per year. 

Once a prospective orthodontist has been accepted into a residency, they must complete a 2-3 year orthodontics program at a dental school that has been accredited by the American Dental Association. In this program, they learn how to use orthodontic appliances to their highest potential. By the end of their education, an orthodontist will have completed more than 4,800 hours of specialized orthodontic training.

When to See an Orthodontist vs. a General Dentist

The main difference between dentists and orthodontists is the kind of conditions they treat. Your dentist is a general practitioner who should be your go-to for things like dental cleanings, cavity fillings, crowns, and general oral health maintenance. An orthodontist fixes the structure of your teeth and jaw, correcting bite malocclusions like tooth crowding, jaw misalignments, and more.

Some dentists offer orthodontic treatment, but it’s important to remember that dentists lack the 2-3 years of specialized education that orthodontists receive. It’s crucial to trust your smile with a certified orthodontist, as they have the skills and knowledge necessary to take your smile to the next level.

Get Five Star Orthodontic Treatment in
Kirkland, Snohomish, and Lake Stevens

While dentists and orthodontists both specialize in dental health, an orthodontist is the only professional you should trust with the alignment of your smile. Orthodontists specialize in correcting the structure of your bite, giving you a more attractive and functional smile.

The Superstars at Lund Orthodontics can help you achieve the glowing smile you’ve been dreaming about. If you’re in the Kirkland, Lake Stevens, or Snohomish area and you’re looking to upgrade your smile, call us, text us, or schedule a free exam online with us today!

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