How Dentists and Orthodontists Differ (and Aren’t)


General Dentists and Orthodontists are both dental health professionals. A dentist is a general practitioner who provides services like teeth cleaning, fillings, crowns, bridges, and root canals to patients in need of oral care. An orthodontist specializes in correcting teeth and jaw misalignments caused by an improper bite or jaw growth.

This blog post will discuss the similarities and differences between dentists and orthodontists.

What Is A General Dentist?

General Dentists are medical professionals trained in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and conditions of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area (the jaws), adjacent tissues (such as gums), and adjacent structures (muscles and temporomandibular joint)

What Is An Orthodontist?

Orthodontists are dentists who go further and specialize. After graduating as a general dentist, an Orthodontist goes for an additional 2-3 years of full-time specialized education. They have extensive training in diagnosing and treating malocclusions (problems with teeth alignment and the bite), such as crooked teeth or jaw growth problems that can cause facial deformities. 

Orthodontists treat children and adults. It is recommended to have an evaluation around age seven or eight when they get their first adult teeth. Orthodontic treatment usually begins when a patient has a problem with the alignment of their teeth that causes them to be misaligned or crowded. 

Misalignment can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and even physical pain from jaws being off upon biting caused by overcrowded teeth and pressing nerves inside the mouth that connect to muscles controlling the chewing ability.

Similarities Between Dentists and Orthodontic

  • Both general dentists and orthodontists are trained to provide general dental care. They can diagnose and treat problems with your teeth, gums, and jaws, including cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. Both can also advise you on preventing these conditions from occurring in the first place by practicing good oral hygiene — brushing twice per day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and having regular dental visits every six months or so.
  • Additionally, general dentists and orthodontists can provide orthodontic treatment for very mild misalignments. While some people need Aligners & braces right away (for example, if their bite is off), others may not need them until later in life — like during adolescence when teeth cause changes in facial structures that affect the jaw functions and misaligns the teeth.
  • General Dentists and Orthodontists are trained to provide cosmetic dentistry. They can whiten teeth, fill cavities, straighten crooked ones, and install artificial veneers or crowns that look natural.

Difference Between Dentists And Orthodontists

  • Orthodontists are dentists who specialize in diagnosing, preventing, and treating malocclusion (misaligning teeth and jaws).
  • General Dentists focus on oral health, including diagnosing and treating diseases and disorders related to teeth, gums, and jaws (cavities, gum disease, etc.).

To have a better smile, you should see an Orthodontist.

Ok, this is the essential part of this article. Orthodontists are highly skilled in straightening teeth and fixing the bite using braces, aligners, and retainers. Most general dentists cannot do these things for you, so be sure to find a dentist with extensive education and experience in orthodontics – Like our highly skilled team of professionals here at 904 Dental Care in Jacksonville, Florida! 


Dentists and orthodontists are doctors who specialize in caring for your teeth and gums. However, these two professions have different areas of expertise. Whether looking for a dentist in Jacksonville or an orthodontist in Jacksonville, 904 Dental Care has the best dental healthcare for your entire family. Our Orthodontist in Jacksonville will work with you and your family to ensure that every member is on the same page with their dental healthcare plan. We provide an atmosphere that makes it easy for patients to feel comfortable and relaxed. Our team at 904 Dental Care is dedicated to giving you the Smile You Deserve!