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What is an Orthodontist?

While a dentist’s job is to provide the first line of care for your dental needs, an orthodontist is more specialised in that they are skilled in performing corrective treatments such as getting your teeth aligned.

Dentist vs Orthodontist

A dentist will do the basic things such as checkups, cleaning, and also x-rays. They will also do the general dentistry procedures such as repairing or removing problem teeth, filling out cavities, and also creating models for dentures. They can opt to go through more coursework and qualify themselves to offer orthodontic services, but more often than not, if you need treatments that are outside their scope of expertise, they’ll refer you to another specialist.

For example if you need realignment of your teeth, they’ll refer you to an orthodontist.

Example of Dental Treatments:

  • Gum care
  • Root Canals
  • Fillings
  • Crowns
  • Veneers
  • Bridges
  • Teeth Whitening

Example of Orthodontic Treatments:

  • Wires
  • Invisalign
  • Braces
  • Retainers
  • Other corrective appliances

Should I see a Dentist or Orthodontist?

Usually it’s best to see a dentist for consultation since they are the first line of defence from dental diseases. The dentist will then decide if they can treat you or if they have to refer you to a specialist. Most modern dental clinics have both a dentist and an orthodontist on staff so you won’t have to go elsewhere for treatment. This makes it far more convenient for the patient.

Choosing a good orthodontist

Orthodontists will perform procedures that permanently affect your teeth so it’s better to choose a good one and get it right from the start. Here are a few ways to choose an orthodontist:

  1. Referrals – Word of mouth is usually the best way to know if someone is good or not. Because the simple fact is that people talk. If they had a good experience, they’ll talk. If they had a bad experience, they’ll talk.
  2. Reviews – People often leave reviews on the web properties that they are familiar with. Look out for reviews on their Facebook Page, on Google Maps listing, etc.
  3. Price survey – Not all orthodontists charge the same rates. Some are more expensive because they have a good brand and reputation, although the younger ones are just as good but they can charge less because they haven’t built a huge name for themselves yet. You need to suit your budget for this.


Orthodontics is a specialised field of dentistry and it’s best to do your research and ask around so that you can make an informed decision and avoid costly and permanent mistakes.