What is an Orthodontist?
An Orthodontist is a dental specialist who is trained in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. They provide a wide range of treatment options to straighten crooked teeth, fix bad bites and align the jaws correctly.
After completing a five-year degree in dentistry, an orthodontist undergoes a further 5,000 hours (or three years of full-time study) of specialist training in the field of orthodontics. Whether you or your child are being treated with braces or clear aligners such as Invisalign, you need to be sure you’re being treated by an orthodontist to get the best results.
While orthodontists are primarily known for straightening teeth, they can also assist with painful and misaligned bites, tooth movement caused by bad habits such as thumb sucking, and even some forms of sleep apnoea. If you’re wondering what an orthodontist can do for your smile, you should make an appointment to have an assessment.
What is the difference between an Orthodontist and a Dentist?
Orthodontists and dentists share many similarities – they work together to help you improve your overall oral health – but they actually work in very different ways. Dentists cover a broad range of oral health issues. An orthodontist, on the other hand, is a dental specialist with a singular focus: straightening teeth and aligning jaws.
In order for patients to make informed decisions regarding their treatment, it’s important to be aware of a few key differences between orthodontists and dentists:
- A general dentist is similar to your family GP medical doctor – they are highly skilled general practitioners who can diagnose and treat problems and common diseases that affect your teeth, mouth and gums.
- Dentists complete a General Dental Degree.
- They are experts in general dental care and maintenance for all ages. They also perform cosmetic dental procedures such as tooth whitening, porcelain veneers and crowns.
- Unlike orthodontists, dentists are not trained at university in fitting braces or overseeing other orthodontic treatments
- Most general dentists will refer patients and their own family requiring orthodontic care to specialist orthodontists.
- Orthodontists are registered dental specialists who have completed an additional three years of full-time university training in orthodontics, facial growth, and development, biology and biomechanics (they hold a General Dental Degree + Specialist Orthodontic Degree). There are only 3-4 Orthodontists trained each year at 5 accredited Australian universities and only the best dentists are selected into these training programs.
- Orthodontists are facial growth and dental development experts. They diagnose and treat crooked teeth, bad bites and poorly aligned jaws.
- Orthodontists are experts in all orthodontic care options and technologies for children, teens and adults.