The Difference Between An Orthodontist and A Dentist

It is so easy to get these two terms confused especially when you are just starting out on having braces and fixing your teeth, but in actuality, these two jobs are very much different from each other while being somehow the same because of their origins and nature- try to think of them as being different branches of the same tree, if that makes sense.

So, the next time you are looking for a Lower Hutt orthodontist or whatever your place is, make sure that you do not accidentally go to a dentist with this guide we have that will make you able to distinguish between the two. Let’s get into it!

Their Education and Training


A dentist is a primary oral healthcare provider who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of oral diseases and conditions and to become a dentist, you are required to earn a bachelor’s degree followed by four years of dental school however, some places offer a 6-year program which fuses your bachelors with dental school, making something of a accelerates course and usually dental school curriculum encompasses a broad spectrum of dental care, including general dentistry, oral pathology, periodontology, and more.


An orthodontist, on the other hand, is a specialist within the field of dentistry who focuses primarily on the alignment of teeth and jaws. How it works is that once you have completed dental school, aspiring orthodontists undergo additional rigorous training in an accredited orthodontic residency program, typically lasting two to three years. This specialized training equips orthodontists with the expertise to diagnose, prevent, and treat malocclusions, commonly known as misaligned bites.

Scope of Practice


Dentists treat a wide range of oral health issues, from basic cleanings and fillings to more complicated operations like root canals and tooth extractions and they are also skilled in treating a wide range of dental problems, such as cavities, gum disease, and oral infections– it is also there responsibility to teach and educate people on how to take care of their gums more


On the other hand, orthodontists specialize in aligning teeth and jaws to enhance functioning, appearance, and general oral health, as such, their specialization is in identifying and treating malocclusions using different orthodontic treatments, most notably braces and aligners.

Usually, orthodontists create treatment programs that are tailored to each patient’s specific needs, addressing problems like overcrowding, tooth gaps, and bite abnormalities and in addition to standard braces, orthodontists may provide new alternatives such as clear aligner therapy and orthognathic surgery for complicated situations.


At the end of the day, both types of jobs have a very similar end goal of wanting to promote good and proper oral hygiene so that they will have healthy teeth– their main difference only lies in the scope of work that they have and what bounds of the mouth and teeth they can treat. With that said, hopefully, you have learned a lot from this so until then, keep your teeth healthy!