Are dentists and orthodontists the same thing? Learn about the differences! 

This article will explain how orthodontists and dentists are different, so you can choose which sort of expert you necessitate.

Orthodontists and dentists share several similarities, but they are not the same, and to get the most reliable outcomes, they must work together. Your dentist can be looked at as a general doctor and your orthodontist as a specialist.

Both dentists and orthodontists play a big part in maintaining our dental health. Nevertheless, patients need to be conscious that just like our family doctor needs to work with a medical specialist, dentists also need to be assisted by dental specialists, the orthodontists. 

Like all doctors, dentists require extensive training through their practice, finishing a residency before getting certified. The initial two years of dental school take place in the class and laboratory. Throughout the latest two years, dentists work with patients under the guidance of an authorized dental school. It is common for dentists to go to school for a pre-dentistry or pre-medical degree before going on to a university of dentistry. After finishing dental school, dentists must take and pass the National Dental Examination to become licensed workers.

Likewise, orthodontists seek a pre-dentistry or pre-medical major in their undergraduate degree before entering dentistry school. After finishing dental school and getting the certification, orthodontists go to an orthodontic residency program for an extra 2 to 3 years to receive a specialty certification in orthodontics. According to the American Board of Orthodontics, orthodontists can go into work after passing additional certification examinations.


First, you should know about dentists. They are also known as dental surgeons, a surgeon who specializes in dentistry. To become a dentist you need about eight years, four years to obtain a bachelor's degree as an undergraduate, and four years to get a DDS or DMD at a dental academy. If you're fascinated about specializing, you'll need to finish a dental residency. 

A certified dentist can practice most dental treatments, such as:

  • Restorative (dental restorations, crowns, bridges), 
  • Prosthodontist (dentures, crown/bridge), 
  • endodontic (root canal) therapy, 
  • Periodontal (gum) therapy, 
  • Oral surgery (extraction of teeth), dental implant placement, 
  • Performing examinations, taking radiographs (x-rays), and diagnosis.

Also, dentists can prescribe remedies such as antibiotics, fluorides, pain killers, local anesthetics, sedatives/hypnotics, etc.


Orthodontists also need extensive practice, but they also require further knowledge to specialize in diagnosing and fixing misalignment of teeth and jaws. This extra knowledge comes from three additional years in a certified university centered only on the tooth and jaw alignment. They are experts in facial and dental growth. 

The extra experience makes orthodontists capable of making precise early intervention to reduce the demand for orthodontic procedures, improving appearance results, applying treatments like retainers, clear aligners, and traditional braces.

Orthodontists do the following:

  • manage facial development in children (jawline and bite)
  • diagnose and fix malocclusion
  • formulate a strategy that includes braces and retainers
  • teeth straightening surgery
  • place dental devices, such as braces, palatal expanders, orthodontic headgear, or Herbs devices

If you suspect you have a twisted jawline or teeth that require alignment, you should think of skipping the dentist and running to the orthodontist. Also, children should be evaluated by an orthodontist before turning 7 to see if braces will be required. 

Contact Us!
call call call call