Though both dentists and orthodontists are focused on creating a healthier and more beautiful smile for their patients, they have fundamentally different areas of expertise.
A dentist is primarily focused on the health of your teeth pertaining to tooth decay, or tooth replacement. Dentists are often also dental surgeons. They specialize in dentistry: the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of tooth disease, cavities or other issues pertaining to tooth decay.
Orthodontists are primarily focused on straightening misaligned teeth. Orthodontics focus on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of teeth that are positioned incorrectly in the jaw. It can also focus on facial growth which supports straighter teeth.
The word "Orthodontist" comes from the Greek root word "ortho" meaning "straight, correct". The word Orthodontist means a specialist, often a doctor, who is focused on the practice or treating malpositioned teeth.
Any treatment that is dealing with the position of teeth is considered Orthodontic. There are many methods that are talked about, especially on the internet, about how to straighten teeth. We recommend consulting a certified Orthodontist before making any decisions about your teeth.
Though methods have changed and become more modern and effective, the essential goal of the Orthodontist has remained the same. They are experts at coaxing teeth into alignment. Popular treatments include invisible retainers, such as Invisalign® and braces. Technologies such as 3D imaging and improved materials have also made orthodontic treatment easier, more effective and faster than ever.