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What Is the Difference Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist?

4 September 2020 | Dr. Frédéric Lavoie

Orthodontics and dentistry, although very similar fields, remain entirely separate professions. The main differences lie in the higher education needed to become an orthodontist, after completing training in dentistry. The dentist is often more generalist and specializes in oral health for the entire family, while the orthodontist specializes in malocclusions, correction of dental misalignments and dentofacial orthopedics.

Additional Studies

The studies required to become a dentist consist of completing a doctorate in dentistry which takes between four and five years. According to the Quebec Orthodontists Association, only dentists who have successfully followed and completed additional university training can use and bear the title of orthodontist.

To become an orthodontist, a qualified dentist must successfully complete an orthodontic residency program recognized by the relevant authorities. These programs can last two to three years full-time and are recognized by the Ordre des dentistes du Québec (ODQ) and the Royal College of Dentists of Canada (RCDC).

A Similar Field, but Specialized

A dentist is much like a family doctor or a general practitioner. Consultations with a dentist are usually more general and consist of regular dental check-ups, cavity repairs, missing tooth replacements and more. They are qualified to take care of everything related to your dental and oral health as well as to perform regular assessments and check-ups.

Orthodontists are first and foremost dentists, but they are also highly trained specialists whose expertise is in improving and correcting the alignment and coordination of teeth and jaws in people of all ages, children and adults. Usually, orthodontists limit themselves to orthodontics and do not perform other aspects of dentistry such as periodontics (treatment of the gums), prosthodontics (crowns, bridges, dental implants and dentures), endodontics (root canal) or dental surgery (teeth extractions and the like).

The practice of this discipline requires great professional skills as well as unparalleled expertise in order to adequately develop effective treatment plans. They are also called upon to design the manufacture, placement and control of corrective devices. These orthodontic appliances are necessary in the effective correction of misalignments of teeth, jaws and tissues that contribute to dentofacial functions.

Trust the specialists at F. Lavoie to regain your smile and your comfort with the help of specialized orthodontic treatments. Schedule an appointment with us!