Dentist or Orthodontist: Which One for Straightening Your Teeth?

by | Jun 28, 2023 | Dental Care | 0 comments

If you’re considering straightening your teeth, you may wonder whether to see a dentist or an orthodontist. While both professionals can help improve your smile, there are some critical differences between the two. This guide will help you understand the roles of dentists and orthodontists in teeth straightening and decide which one to choose.

Understand the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist.

While dentists and orthodontists work with teeth, the two have some key differences. Dentists focus on overall oral health, including preventing and treating tooth decay and gum disease. Orthodontists, on the other hand, specialize in correcting misaligned teeth and jaws. They use braces, aligners, and other orthodontic appliances to straighten teeth and improve bite function. If you’re looking specifically for teeth straightening, see an orthodontist.

Consider the severity of your dental issue.

When deciding between a dentist or orthodontist for straightening your teeth, it’s essential to consider the severity of your dental issue. A dentist can provide cosmetic solutions such as veneers or bonding if you have minor crowding or spacing issues. However, an orthodontist is best if you have more complex problems, such as a misaligned bite or crooked teeth. Orthodontists have the specialized training and expertise to provide comprehensive orthodontic treatment to address these issues.


  • Dentists complete a General Dental Degree.
  • A general dentist is similar to your family doctor and is very important for overall dental health. They provide a wide range of services from dental cleaning to repairing teeth.
  • Dentists are not trained at university in putting on braces or working with clear aligners.
  • Most dentists will refer patients requiring orthodontic treatment to a certified orthodontic specialist.  


  • Orthodontists complete a dental degree then a two to three-year specialist degree.
  • Orthodontists are specialists in facial growth and dental development. Proper early intervention can reduce the need for orthodontic treatment and improve results.
  • Orthodontists are specialists in tooth and jaw alignment. 
  • Orthodontists offer many types of treatment including retainers, clear aligners and traditional braces and will help pick the right one for you.  Dentists often only offer one brand or type of aligner or braces.

Please watch this entertaining and informative video from the AAO about choosing between a dentist and an orthodontist for straightening your teeth.

Reasons to Get Braces

While the cosmetic aspect of braces is important, even more importantly, braces improve the overall health of your body. Braces can:

  • Ensure proper function of teeth.
  • Create a healthy, attractive smile and facial structure.
  • Maintain a good bite making it easier to chew and speak.
  • Avoid tooth decay/loss by making them easier to clean.
  • Avoid expensive dental procedures that could result from untreated orthodontic issues.

Final Words

Dentists are experts at preventing and treating tooth decay and gum disease. Orthodontists are experts in diagnosing and treating dental and facial irregularities and have a deeper understanding of the mechanics of tooth movement. Get an evaluation from an orthodontist when considering braces or clear aligners for yourself or a child. Contact Cobb Orthodontics for a free consultation


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