When it comes to dental care, two specialists play an important role in preserving and improving oral health: orthodontists and dentists. While both are concerned with the health of your teeth and gums, there are significant distinctions between each role. Understanding these distinctions is essential in ensuring that you obtain the appropriate treatment, whether it’s a general cleaning and exam or orthodontics in London.

Definition and Education


A dentist is a primary dental care professional who focuses on oral health diagnoses, prevention, and treatment. After four years of dental school, they often acquire a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree.


An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and repair of dental abnormalities, notably concerns with teeth and jaw alignment. After graduating from dentistry school, orthodontists seek an additional two to three years of specialized orthodontic study to earn a Master of Science in Orthodontics or an equivalent degree.

Scope of Practice

Dentists provide a wide range of dental treatments, such as basic check-ups, teeth cleanings, cavity fillings, gum disease treatment, root canals, tooth extractions, and aesthetic dentistry operations including teeth whitening and dental veneers. They usually serve as patients’ first point of contact and provide general dental treatment.

Orthodontists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities. Their major focus is on dental misalignment, bite abnormalities, and jaw alignment concerns. Braces, transparent aligners (such as Invisalign), retainers, and other orthodontic tools are often employed to straighten teeth and enhance the overall function and cosmetics of the mouth during orthodontic treatments.

Treatment Objectives

The treatment goals of dentists and orthodontists differ significantly because of their various areas of expertise. Dentists near you usually manage urgent dental issues such as tooth decay, gum disease, and oral infections. Their goal is to restore oral health, relieve pain, and prevent future progression of dental diseases. They perform treatments that enhance the functioning of the teeth while also maintaining the general health of the mouth.

Orthodontists, on the other hand, focus on enhancing tooth and jaw alignment and location. Their mission is to achieve a balanced bite, improve face attractiveness, and improve long-term dental health. Orthodontic procedures are sometimes more time-consuming because they require progressive modifications to attain an ideal alignment. Orthodontists treat patients with crowded teeth, overbites, underbites, crossbites, and gaps between teeth.

Patient Population

Dentists treat patients of all ages and provide comprehensive dental treatment for individuals with a wide range of dental requirements. They treat common dental issues including tooth decay, gum disease, and oral infections. Dentists are also important in teaching people about their oral health and advocating preventative measures.

Orthodontists primarily treat children and teens because many orthodontic abnormalities may be more easily treated throughout the growth and development stages. Receiving orthodontics near you, however, is not confined to children; adults seeking teeth straightening and bite correction can also benefit from orthodontic care.

While orthodontists and dentists both contribute to general dental health, their roles are very different. Regular visits to dentists and orthodontists are required to keep a healthy and attractive smile throughout life.

Experience Compassionate Care at Maple Ridge Family Dental!

At Maple Ridge Family Dental, we pride ourselves on providing comprehensive and compassionate dental care to patients of all ages. Our experienced dentist in London is dedicated to creating a comfortable and welcoming environment for every individual who walks through our doors.

With a focus on patient education and personalized treatment plans, we strive to empower our patients to make informed decisions about their oral health. Trust our experts for exceptional dental care that puts your well-being first.

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