What’s the Difference Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist

Difference Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist

It can be difficult to keep track of all the different titles that medical professionals have these days, especially because there are so many specialties. As a result, labels like a general dentist, orthodontist, endodontist, and periodontist are easy to mix up.

To learn more about each of these distinctive areas of dental care, speak with an orthodontist today. They’ll be able to clarify things for you and answer any questions you have.

Dentist vs Orthodontist


The dentist and orthodontist are frequently confused because a lot of people may assume that these terms are interchangeable. In reality, a dentist is quite different from an orthodontist. While both individuals focus on treating our teeth, they possess different training and a certain type of knowledge concerning patient anatomy. How these two dental professionals compare to one another is broken down in further detail below:

What is a general dentist?

A general dentist is a dental practitioner that is able to diagnose, treat, and help prevent a variety of common oral health conditions. When you visit a dentist near you for a routine cleaning every six months or so, you’re going to see a general dentist. 

Here are the various services that a general dentist, sometimes called a family dentist, can provide: 

1. Cleanings and checkups

2. Educate patients about the proper way to brush and floss and how they can reduce tooth decay

3. Place dental fillings

4. Install dental crowns or bridges

5. Teeth whitening

6. Apply porcelain veneers

7. Prevent, diagnose, and treat gum (periodontal) disease

8. Perform root canals

Once a child has grown up and reached adulthood (they’re older than 18 years of age), they’ll make the transition from seeing a pediatric dentist, who specializes in working with kids, to seeing a general dentist in North Edmonton. 

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental specialist. They focus on straightening unaligned teeth, remedying abnormal bite patterns, and promoting healthy facial development. When the time comes for you to receive braces – be it traditional metal braces, lingual braces, or Invisalign – this is when you will need to receive orthodontics near you. Dentists in North Edmonton are not licensed to provide such services to patients. Often, your general dentist will be able to refer you to an orthodontic practice. 

Orthodontists have more education than traditional dentists. Alongside earning a dental degree, they also must complete three additional years of training. They have an in-depth understanding of how the muscles, bones, and tissues of your oral cavity, head, and even your neck all engage with one another. 

Noted below are the types of issues that orthodontics deal with on a daily basis:

1. Underbite

2. Crossbite

3. Overbite

4. Straightening your teeth. This is when you’ll need to receive braces

5. Overcrowding

6. Temporomandibular pain

7. They also provide retainers to patients once their braces have come off

Both general dentists and orthodontists conduct initial consultations, examining your mouth and taking x-rays to establish a conclusive picture of your current oral health situation before they approve any type of treatment. 

Simply put, all orthodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are orthodontists. If you’re interested in learning more about orthodontics in North Edmonton, get in touch with our local dental practice today. 

The Dentists at Northgate are ready and willing to help you however we can. We’ll be able to walk you through the treatment you’re looking to explore so you know exactly what to expect. So, pay us a visit to kick off your dental journey today! We’re very excited to start working with you!