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What’s the Difference Between an Orthodontist and a Dentist?

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There is much confusion about orthodontists and dentists. Many people don’t know if their malocclusion should be treated by an orthodontist, or why it even matters.

All dental professionals go to four years of dental school and become dentists. They all have the knowledge and skillset to treat a wide range of dental issues. However, some dental students decide to continue their education after dental school. Only the very top students are selected to continue their education. These dental specialists complete an additional two to three years of rigorous schooling and clinical training beyond dental school. During those years, they focus solely on an area of specialty and become experts in their field.

Dentists are like your primary care physician. They manage your general dental health. With routine dental cleanings, they maintain the health of your teeth, gums, and supporting structures of your teeth. Regular exams allow them to monitor potential problems and diagnose dental issues that need to be taken care of. They restore teeth with decay and even do cosmetic work. They are able solve a wide range of dental problems, however if they encounter something more serious, they should refer to the proper dental specialist just as your primary care physician would refer you to a cardiologist for your heart problems.

Orthodontists specialize in the alignment of the teeth and jaws, taking into consideration the profile of lips and face. Orthodontist look at more than just how straight your teeth are. They restore the teeth and jaws to the proper position, allowing them to function properly so you can eat, talk, and breathe better. Since altering the position of the teeth and jaws can change your appearance, orthodontists look at the entire face instead of just the mouth like dentists.

Some people would prefer to have their general dentist do their orthodontic work. Although some dentists have taken an evening or weekend course to learn the basics of orthodontics, they don’t have the level of training and experience that orthodontists have. That’s why it’s important to have an orthodontist take care or your orthodontic needs rather than a general dentist. After all, you wouldn’t have your primary care physician do your heart surgery!

By reading this blog, you have come to the right place. Dr. Montano and Dr. Cardall are orthodontic specialists who are highly trained and experienced in orthodontics including braces and Invisalign. Montano & Cardall Orthodontic Specialists is also the only office in town with a full-functioning lab, meaning all your orthodontic needs are taken care of here and it’s faster. We also use the latest technology with our digital radiology lowering the dose of exposure to you. Our staff is also great with over 100 years of combined experience! If you or someone you know needs orthodontic treatment, give us a call!

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