What is the Difference Between an Orthodontist and a Dentist?

At Hillam Orthodontics, we're more than just about straightening teeth—we're about guiding and educating our patients. A question we often hear is, "What's the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?" 

It's a great question! Knowing the answer helps you make the best choices for your teeth and smile. In simple terms, while both care about your oral health, they have different roles and expertise. 

This blog post is all about shedding light on those differences so you can make informed decisions about your oral care.

Dentists: Guardians of Overall Oral Health

A dentist is a professional who specializes in general oral health. Think of them as the primary care doctors for your mouth. Their training focuses on:

  • Diagnosis and treatment of dental issues
  • Routine check-ups
  • Fillings and cavities
  • Dental hygiene and cleanings
  • Gum care (periodontal treatment)
  • Root canals
  • Extractions

Essentially, dentists address a broad spectrum of oral health needs. They ensure your teeth are healthy, and your gums are in good shape.

Orthodontists: The Alignment Specialists

Orthodontists, on the other hand, are trained as dentists but then undergo additional years of specialized education focusing primarily on the alignment of teeth and jaws. They are experts in:

At Hillam Orthodontics, our expertise spans across braces, Invisalign, pre-orthodontia, retainers, and more. If it's about aligning your teeth and ensuring your smile is at its best, we're the professionals you'd want to see.

Bringing It All Together: The Key Differences

While both dentists and orthodontists care deeply about your oral health, they serve different primary functions. A dentist ensures the overall health of your teeth and gums—while an orthodontist specializes in the alignment of your teeth and jaws. 

Think of it this way: if you had a heart issue, you'd see a cardiologist, not just a general physician. Similarly, for alignment-specific concerns, orthodontists like the professionals at Hillam Orthodontics are your go-to experts.

We're proud to serve the communities of Idaho Falls, ID, Afton, WY, and Driggs, ID. Whether you're considering braces, Invisalign, or have any orthodontic concerns, our team is here to guide and assist you. After all, a perfect smile isn't just about aesthetics—it's about optimal function and health.

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Why Hillam Orthodontics?

Board-certified Orthodontists
Offices in Idaho Falls, Driggs, & Afton
3 generations of doctors practicing since 1966

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