It is easy to confuse one for the other since both are dental specialists. Both offer dental services, but there are differences in their areas of specialization. Some who practice general dentistry also offer some orthodontic services. This does not mean that they are orthodontists.
Who Is a General Dentist?
Typically, a general dentist will go through dental school, graduate, and obtain a license to practice dentistry. Once they have a license, general dentists can provide oral hygiene services such as root canals, crowns, tooth decay, teeth whitening, and bridges.
Oral healthcare providers who practice general dentistry can also offer some orthodontic procedures. All dentists will receive basic orthodontic training while in dental school. However, this does not mean that they are experts in orthodontic procedures.
Who Is an Orthodontist?
An orthodontist goes through dental school similar to a general dentist. After dental school, they will continue studying for two or more years in their area of specialization. Once done, they graduate and begin addressing themselves by their area of specialization.
In some states, general dentists can offer specialized treatment, such as orthodontic care, without formal post-dental school studies.
Is Orthodontic Treatment More Expensive?
As is often the case, specialized treatment options are always more expensive than general treatment options. However, in dental practices, these rules may not apply. Sometimes, it costs roughly the same to see a general dentist as it does to see an orthodontist.
Although cost is a factor, it should not be the sole factor. Look at the end result and experience of the dental practitioner. Some dentists have performed orthodontic procedures for years and can confidently fix your problem. Those who can't will often recommend you to an orthodontist who will fix your problem.
Is It Better to See a General Dentist or an Orthodontist?
That depends on whether you have an accurate diagnosis of your problem or not. If your oral issue requires a specialist such as an orthodontist, then seek the services of one.
Also, if you are going for a regular checkup, teeth cleaning, or anything in the realm of general dentistry, you should see a dentist. In most cases, your family dentist is good enough, and when you require specialized treatment, they will often recommend a specialist who can offer the service.
Does it matter if a general dentist or orthodontist attends to you? Yes, it does, although both have similar educational backgrounds, each is better in certain areas of specialization.