Is a Family Dentist an Orthodontist?

family dentist Bayside, NY

If your family dentist or a friend’s family dentist offers orthodontic care as well as general dental care, you might be wondering if a family dentist is an orthodontist. Both family dentists and orthodontists work with teeth to improve patients’ smiles. However, putting braces or Invisalign® on teeth is not the same thing as being an orthodontist. Read on to learn more about the difference between the two.

What is a family dentist?

A dentist is concerned with patients’ overall oral well-being. This can include treating cavities with fillings, cleaning teeth to maintain health and removing decayed teeth. A family dentist can also provide crowns, bonding and veneers to improve the cosmetic appearance of the teeth. Other services that family dentists offer can include fixing misshapen or broken teeth and looking for problems in the mouth.

A family dentist may offer orthodontic services such as Invisalign or even braces. This type of dentist may also be able to create a retainer after orthodontic care has been completed. However, this is not the same as being an orthodontist.

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist has received additional training beyond dental school for at least two years or more. After the dentist has completed this area of training, the dentist can use a title such as orthodontist. Orthodontists focus on helping patients to improve teeth alignment and bite through braces and other orthodontic devices. For example, a family dentist may refer a patient to an orthodontist to treat an overbite. There are several services that orthodontists may offer for patients. These can include:

  • Underbites
  • Overbites
  • Crowded teeth
  • Teeth that are not aligned

Orthodontists do not only work with misaligned or crowded teeth. Orthodontists can also work with crossbites, gaps between the teeth and even temporomandibular (TMD) disorders. Other jaw problems can also be treated by an orthodontist.

Common orthodontic treatments

Braces are one of the most common types of orthodontic treatments. There are a few different types of braces, including clear braces and traditional metal braces. An orthodontist can also offer Invisalign treatment, which consists of clear aligners that the patient wears over the teeth constantly.

A palatal expander may be worn on the upper part of the jaw. This places pressure on the jaw to gently push it apart and to expand the jaw. This can widen the palatal area to reduce crowding of the teeth in that area. This can reduce any extractions before treatment.

Visit a family dentist today

An orthodontist may be able to offer better care for these sorts of problems than a family dentist can be. An orthodontist has more training and experience in this area. However, for less serious cases, a family dentist may be able to help you. It is a good idea to visit a family dentist so you can be evaluated. Your family dentist can help you make the right decision and refer you to an orthodontist if necessary.

Request an appointment here: or call Dazzling Smile Dental Group at (718) 841-9535 for an appointment in our Bayside office.

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