Did you know that around 25% of adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have an untreated dental cavity? Not taking good care of your teeth can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss, and bone loss.
To take care of your teeth, you should brush your teeth twice a day, floss, visit the dentist, and get straight teeth by going to the orthodontist.
What is the difference between visiting the dentist and an orthodontist? Keep reading for the ultimate orthodontist vs. dentist comparison.
What Is a Dentist?
More than likely, you have been to the dentist before. The dentist is where people go to have regular oral care. At the dentist, they will diagnose any issues you have going on in your mouth and suggest a treatment plan.
Most people have their first dentist visit when they are 6 months old. They continue to visit the dentist every 6 months after that.
During each 6 month appointment, you will have a dental cleaning, examination, and your dentist will talk to you about your oral hygiene.
If the dentist finds any cavities or other issues, they will schedule an appointment for treatment. To diagnose oral health issues, the dentist may use x-rays, your symptoms, and a physical examination.
Going to the dentist every 6 months is essential to maintain your oral health. If you don’t, issues such as tooth decay and gum disease may go unnoticed until it is too late to repair the damage.
What Is an Orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a type of dentist, but instead of working in general dental care, they help patients align crooked teeth. Having crooked teeth can lead to difficulty speaking, chewing, digesting food, and cleaning your teeth.
In addition to impacting oral health, crooked teeth can have a huge impact on someone’s self-confidence. When someone feels self-conscious because of their teeth, they may be less likely to smile or talk.
Orthodontists can align teeth in a variety of different ways, including using traditional metal braces or clear aligners. The method that is best for you will depend on the condition of your teeth and your preferences.
If you struggle because you have crooked teeth, you should start by talking to your dentist. The dentist will let you know if you could benefit from seeing an orthodontist, and they will give you a referral.
When looking for the best orthodontist, look for one that is professional, friendly, and has a clean office. The orthodontist should be patient and willing to answer any questions.
During your first orthodontist appointment, the orthodontist will ask you about your symptoms, examine your teeth, and provide treatment options. From there, you can start a treatment plan to straighten your teeth.
When Should You See the Dentist?
You should visit the dentist at least every 6 months for a cleaning. After the cleaning, your dentist will make you an appointment to come back for another cleaning in 6 months.
If they found any issues during the dental exam, they will make an appointment for treatment.
If you experience any pain, gum swelling, or injure a tooth between appointments, you should call your dentist to make an appointment.
Most dentists offer emergency appointments, so you don’t have to wait until your 6-month cleaning if you have a problem.
When Should You See an Orthodontist?
If you need to see an orthodontist, your dentist will give you a referral during your regular dental cleaning. Once you get a referral, you can call the orthodontist’s office to set up an appointment.
After your first appointment, the orthodontist will suggest a treatment plan. How often you need to visit the orthodontist will depend on the straightening method that is best for you.
On average, you will need to visit the orthodontist every 4 to 8 weeks. You also may need to visit the orthodontist if you have an emergency. If you get metal braces, it is common to have issues with the metal brackets or wires.
While you will see a dentist throughout your entire life, you will only visit an orthodontist while getting treatment for crooked teeth. Keep in mind that you should keep seeing your regular dentist while going to the orthodontist.
Dentist vs. Orthodontist Qualifications
Another difference between dentists and orthodontists is that they have different schooling requirements. Both dentists and orthodontists start with the same schooling requirements, and then orthodontists have extra schooling.
To become a dentist, you have to start by getting a bachelor’s degree at a university. Many dentists choose to study biology, chemistry, physics, or biomedical engineering in college.
Once you complete your bachelor’s degree, the next step is to attend dental school. This takes an extra 4 years to complete. After finishing dental school, the dentist has to take an exam and clinical to get their license.
Once a dentist gets their license, they can work in general dentistry or choose a specialty. Becoming an orthodontist requires an extra 2 to 3 years of schooling and clinical work.
After completing the orthodontist clinical, the dentist can apply for an orthodontics license to begin practicing.
Orthodontist vs. Dentist: Which One Do You Need to See?
Are you wondering, “Should I see a dentist or orthodontist?” If so, you should start by seeing your regular dentist every 6 months. Next time you are at the dentist, ask if you could benefit from visiting an orthodontist.
Did you enjoy reading this orthodontist vs. dentist comparison? If so, check out the lifestyle and health category for more dental information.