Dentist vs. Orthodontist Whats the Difference?

You discover that your child needs braces. Your pediatric dentist recommends that you send your child to an orthodontist. What’s the difference between the two? Orthodontist Dr. Bobby Griffin explains.

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Dentists are basically the general practitioners for oral health. They usually see people of all ages. They perform check-ups, cleanings, fillings, and root canals. Most will also be able to perform procedures like dental implants. Many can also help with cosmetic procedures to whiten teeth.

Orthodontists are specialists. They spend their careers making sure the top teeth and bottom teeth are aligned. Overbites and underbite not only look strange, but they can also be harmful to teeth in the long run. Misaligned teeth cause uneven pressure when biting and chewing. Over time, misaligned teeth can be damaged because some teeth or parts of teeth get more pressure than others.

Orthodontists also check children’s teeth before adult teeth grow in to make sure the bite is properly aligned. It is much easier to make corrections on children’s teeth than adult teeth since children’s jaws are still growing. It’s best to have an orthodontist check your child’s teeth by age nine. In contrast, a baby should start visiting a dentist by the first birthday. However, it’s never too late to see either an orthodontist or a dentist.

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