Chingford Mount Dental Practice
35 Hall Lane,
Chingford,
London E4 8HH
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What Is The Difference Between A Dentist And Orthodontist?

What Is The Difference Between A Dentist And Orthodontist?

If you’re thinking about getting your child’s crooked teeth straightened, you might be confused about whether you should take them to a dentist or an orthodontist. This is a very valid question that is asked by almost every parent. So, what is the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist? This article explains the difference between the roles of both these dental professionals so that you can make an informed decision about you or your child’s dental treatment.

What Is The Difference Between An Orthodontist And A Dentist?

A  dentist is a dental professional who is trained to treat problems related to the oral cavity. To become a licensed dentist in the UK, one has to undertake four to five years of undergraduate clinical training in dental sciences. On the other hand, an orthodontist is a dentist who has undergone an additional three to four years of specialised training in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of problems related to the growth, development, and alignment of the teeth and the jaws. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, an orthodontist has to undertake over 3700 hours of additional clinical training to specialise in orthodontic treatment. 

Do Dentists And Orthodontists Do The Same Work?

Both dentists and orthodontists are dental professionals. However, they have different roles. A dentist is trained in general dental treatment, from dental fillings to professional cleanings, extractions, teeth whitening and root canals. On the other hand, orthodontists have a more specialised work area; they are only concerned with the treatment and prevention of orthodontic problems in children and adults. However, this does not mean that orthodontists cannot practice general dentistry. However, they focus more on orthodontic treatment. 

Why Are Dentists Allowed To Practice Orthodontics?

Dentists undergo four to five years of clinical training in a dental school before they are allowed to practice dentistry in the UK. During this time, they receive ample training in treating a wide range of dental problems, including tooth misalignment. During their final years of training, dentists receive training in all major specialisations of dentistry, including orthodontics. Hence, when they graduate, they are capable of performing orthodontic treatment independently. However, a dentist normally refers you to a dentist if you have a complex or complicated issue. 

Can Cosmetic Dentistry Fix An Overbite?

An overbite, also known as a deep bite, is a condition in which the upper front teeth excessively overlap the lower ones vertically. Besides causing obvious aesthetic concerns, an overbite can also lead to various dental complications like wearing of the teeth, temporomandibular joint disorders, teeth sensitivity, and dental cavities. While the ideal treatment for an overbite is orthodontic treatment with braces or clear aligners, a deep bite can also be fixed with cosmetic dentistry in some cases. For example, mild to moderate cases of overbite can be fixed with porcelain crowns.

How Would A Dentist Fix A Deep Bite?

A dentist has two main options to fix a deep bite. First, the ideal treatment option is to diagnose the underlying problem and then treat it with braces or removable aligners. Secondly, if one cannot afford orthodontic treatment, or if they cannot wait for many months to get their teeth straightened, dentists may fix an overbite cosmetically with porcelain crowns. Your dentist will decide the best course of action after a thorough clinical examination. 

Can My Orthodontist Fix My Crossbite Underbite With Braces?

Yes, dentists are trained to treat various orthodontic problems, including a crossbite and an overbite. For this, they will use fixed braces or Invisalign aligners to realign your teeth, thereby restoring dental function and your facial aesthetics. The cost and the time required for the treatment mainly depend on the orthodontic issue’s severity. 

What Is The Difference Between A Dentist And A Periodontist?

As discussed earlier, a dentist is a dental professional trained to treat general dental problems, to name a few:

On the other hand, periodontists are specialist dentists; they specialise in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of problems related to the gums and the structures that support our teeth in their sockets (peri = around, odont = teeth). To specialise as periodontists, dentists need to undergo three or four years of additional training in the field of periodontology.

How Should A Patient Pick An Orthodontist?

Choosing the best orthodontist around you can be challenging. However, it is not impossible. When choosing an orthodontist for yourself or your children, you must keep in mind a few things. First, make a list of all the orthodontists in your area. Next, go online and search for their reviews on social media. This will help you in shortlisting the potential orthodontic practices. Once you have shortlisted them, visit each practice and ask to meet the orthodontists. You should enquire about their qualification, training, and their experience in treating orthodontic problems. You may also ask to see the before and after photos of their previous clients. More importantly, you should also meet their dental team. Always choose an orthodontic practice with a friendly and gentle-dental team and one with which you feel comfortable. 

If you have recently relocated to Chingford, or you’re simply looking for orthodontic treatment in London, Chingford Mount Dental Practice is the right place to visit. With a team of qualified and experienced dentists and state-of-the-art equipment, we offer all general dental and orthodontic treatment services for your entire family under one roof. So, book a new patient appointment today and let us give your entire family a healthy and beautiful smile they truly deserve.