Understanding the Difference: General Dentists vs. Orthodontists

Discover the key differences between general dentists and orthodontists with Idaho Orthodontics. Learn when to see an orthodontist for treatments like braces and Invisalign™, and how we can help transform your smile.

Understanding the role and expertise of dental professionals is crucial to the health and beauty of our smiles. 

At Idaho Orthodontics, we're often asked, "Is my general dentist also an orthodontist?" It's a fantastic question, and today, we're here to demystify this for you with a clear, engaging explanation.

Understanding the Basics: Dentists vs. Orthodontists

Both dentists and orthodontists play essential roles in maintaining your oral health, but they serve different functions. Think of your general dentist as your primary care provider for your teeth. They're your go-to for regular check-ups, cleanings, fillings, and overall oral health management. 

Dentists are skilled professionals who diagnose, treat, and manage your general oral healthcare needs, including gum care, root canals, fillings, crowns, veneers, bridges, and preventive education.

On the other hand, an orthodontist is a bit like a specialist who your dentist might refer you to when specific, more complex issues arise. 

Orthodontists are dentists who have undergone additional years of education and training (typically 2-3 years) beyond dental school to specialize in diagnosing, preventing, and treating teeth and jaw alignment problems. Their work focuses on correcting bites, occlusion, and the straightness of teeth, essentially ensuring that your teeth fit together correctly and function as they should.

The Specialized World of Orthodontics

Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that requires additional training. This training focuses on the development of the face, teeth, and jaws to achieve optimal function and aesthetics. 

Orthodontists like us, Dr. McMinn, Dr. Brown , and Dr. Elliott at Idaho Orthodontics, use a variety of treatments, including braces, Invisalign™, and retainers, to help correct these issues. Our goal is not just to create a beautiful smile, but to ensure your bite is functional and healthy, allowing for improved oral health and, ultimately, enhancing overall well-being.

When to Visit an Orthodontist?

So, when should you consider seeing an orthodontist? If you're experiencing issues with the alignment of your teeth, the way your jaws fit together, or if you're looking to improve your smile for health or cosmetic reasons, it might be time to visit an orthodontist. 

Common signs that you might need orthodontic treatment include overcrowded or spaced teeth, protruding teeth, bite issues, or simply the desire for a straighter smile.

Why Choose Idaho Orthodontics?

At Idaho Orthodontics, we pride ourselves on our patient-centered approach. We understand that each patient is unique, and so are their orthodontic needs. Our team is passionate about creating personalized treatment plans that cater to the specific requirements of each individual. With advanced treatment options and technology, we ensure accurate diagnostics and efficient treatments. 

Our practices in Pocatello, Blackfoot, Chubbuck, Soda Springs, and Malad are equipped to provide you with the highest quality of care.

Your Path to a Perfect Smile

While your general dentist plays a vital role in your oral health, they are not orthodontists. Orthodontists undergo additional specialized training to help correct alignment and bite issues, offering treatments such as braces and Invisalign™. If you're considering orthodontic treatment, we're here to help. 

Ready to Transform Your Smile? Let's chat! Contact us at Idaho Orthodontics to request a callback and learn more about how we can help you achieve the smile you've always dreamed of.

Related Questions

How do I know if I need orthodontic treatment?
If you have crowded, spaced, or misaligned teeth, or if your bite doesn't seem right, it might be time to consult an orthodontist. A thorough evaluation will determine if you could benefit from orthodontic treatment.

Can adults undergo orthodontic treatment?
Absolutely! Orthodontic treatment isn't just for children and teenagers. Adults can benefit from orthodontic treatments too, improving both the function and appearance of their smile.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?
The duration of orthodontic treatment varies depending on the individual's needs. On average, treatment can last anywhere from 18 to 24 months, but some cases may be shorter or longer.

Is orthodontic treatment painful?
While you may experience some discomfort, especially following adjustments, modern orthodontic treatments are designed to be as comfortable as possible. Any discomfort can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain relief.