Your Common Questions Answered


What Is The Difference Between An Orthodontist And A Dentist?

difference between orthodontist and dentistTo understand the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist, first consider the difference between a general medical doctor and a doctor who specializes in heart surgery. The heart surgeon has completed all the general studying and training it takes to become a general doctor, but he or she has then gone on to do even more studying and practice to learn about one very particular and complex area of the human body. If you have a heart problem, who do you expect will be better equipped to treat you and bring you the best possible outcome? The heart surgeon, of course!

The same analogy applies when you compare dentists and orthodontists. Dentistry is a broad medical field that seeks to promote and assist with the health of your teeth and gums. Some common reasons to visit your dentist include regular teeth cleanings, gum disease treatment, tooth pain, crowns and bridges, cavity fillings, and discolored teeth. These are all common teeth-related concerns that can typically be handled by a non-specialist dentist.

An orthodontist, on the other hand, is a dentist who has completed 2 additional years of school and significant extra training to specialize in the specialized dental field called “dentofacial orthopedics,” aka orthodontics. This field is a subcategory of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental, jaw, or facial problems.

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When Should You Visit An Orthodontist?

Reasons to see an orthodontist will generally pertain to more specific structural concerns with your teeth or jaw. Some examples of reasons to see an orthodontist include:

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Why Should Your Child Have An Early Evaluation With An Orthodontist?

when should my child have an early orthodontic evaluationEven while your child still has some of his or her “baby” teeth, a trained orthodontic specialist will be able to spot and correct certain potential problems before they gain a foothold. For this reason, the American Association of Orthodontics officially recommends that all children receive an early evaluation around age 7 and no later than age 8 (when the adult incisors typically erupt). During the evaluation, your orthodontist will examine your child’s bite and jaw alignment for potential problems.

Early evaluation doesn’t mean your child will receive braces. In fact, the majority of parents learn during these evaluations that their children don’t need any preventative treatment at all! For some children, however, these early evaluations help to identify issues while they’re still in an early stage and easier to correct.

Some examples of potential benefits from early treatment include:

By having your child evaluated by age 8, you will either save your child significant difficulty with later treatment, or you will gain the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ve confirmed no treatment is necessary. Either way, you have little to lose and much to gain by bringing your child in for an early evaluation.

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How Can You Tell If An Orthodontist Is Right For You?

Our answer to this question is so in-depth, we’ve dedicated an entire page to it! Learn more about some of the key factors you should consider when choosing an orthodontist by clicking here.

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Your Top Rated & Favorite Orthodontists

Our son has a LOT of anxiety about visiting ANY doctor, and Excellence In Orthodontics has made the transition into the orthodontics world a VERY easy and painless experience for our family. Thank you for all that you do to bring beautiful smiles to our family and many many more!
Donna L.
Orlando, FL
I love the doctors and staff recommended by Excellence In Orthodontics! All very knowledgeable and always very pleasant at each appointment. They consistently run on time, which is very rare with doctors these days. They are also very willing to work with you on billing arrangements so you can afford a financial burden like braces. I never would have found my Orthodontist without the help of Excellence In Orthodontics!”
Maria R.
Houston, TX
Excellence In Orthodontics is absolutely amazing! My daughter sees an orthodontist recommended by Excellence In Orthodontics and she has never had a bad experience with them at all. I highly recommend Excellence In Orthodontics!
Bethany C.
Grand Rapids, MI
Excellence in Orthodontics has been a great resource to find the best orthodontist for our daughter. The experience with the orthodontist has been better than we ever expected.
Mary J.
Phoenix, AZ
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