Choosing an Orthodontist vs a Dentist for Orthodontics

If you’re one of the millions considering orthodontics to help straighten your teeth or a loved one’s smile, you may wonder why your dentist can’t fix the problem for you. Technically, a general dentist who has received some training in orthodontics can help.

But would you expect a general practitioner to perform surgery on a faulty heart? Probably not. Both types of medical doctors are vital to your good health, but one is a generalist and the other is a specialist. In the same way that a cardiovascular surgeon focuses on matters of the heart and veins, an orthodontist specializes in realigning your smile.

At Rad Orthodontics, with offices in Bethesda, Rockville, College Park and Potomac, Maryland, our expertly trained and licensed orthodontists provide outstanding dental services that focus on the health and beauty of your smile. We’re happy to explain the differences and similarities between general dentistry and orthodontics

The role of a dentist

Dentists are doctors who focus on oral health. General dentistry services address issues such as tooth decay and gum disease and may include:

Other services provided by a dentist include teeth whitening, veneers, and other cosmetic “fixes” for your teeth.  Although a dentist may also claim to be able to do what an orthodontist does, they do not undergo the rigorous multi-year residency to adequately understand orthdodontics. 

Becoming an orthodontist

Just like surgeons who must become MDs before specializing in surgery, an orthodontist is a dentist first and goes through the same degree program as a general dentist. Once completing dental school, however, an orthodontist undergoes an additional two or more years of education and training that’s focused on improving tooth alignment and fitting braces and other oral appliances designed to correct faulty smiles.

The Orthodontists at Rad Orthodontics are experts in their field and can help with a number of problems such as:

Our licensed orthodontic specialists can also help decrease spaces between teeth and address problems arising from your jaw, such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.

Your Rad Orthodontics specialist also stays current on evolving trends and advancements in orthodontics that a general dentist may not investigate.

Rad Orthodontics specializes in:

And when it’s time for braces or their modern cousins, plastic aligners, we offer a wide variety of types to choose from. Depending on your circumstances, your orthodontist may recommend:

Note that even traditional braces have undergone extensive changes and, thanks to advances in technology and technique, are generally much more comfortable and more effective than the bulky types used in the past.

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