Difference between dentist and orthodontist

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Being a doctor is never easy. The only thing that is probably tougher, is studying to be a doctor. The excruciating years of study however, are a complete pay off as towards the end all doctors though specialized in a particular field are capable of providing medical help of a different specialization to patients.

There are however one group of doctors that do not fit into this category. These are dentists. While the hard work required to become a dentist is just as excruciating, they do not undergo the same training as other doctors do.

Dentists or dental surgeons are a group of doctors that specialize in identification and treatment of diseases that affect the oral cavity. They work with the teeth and gums and in general help patients improve or maintain their oral health.

When talking about dentists, a common confusion arises. Are orthodontists and dentists the same? Well, the answer is no. The explanation is quite simple.

Orthodontics is essentially a specialized field of dentistry. Dentistry is thus at the broader end of the spectrum. An orthodontist deals with the correction of misaligned jaws and teeth.

Can an orthodontist also be a dentist?

As mentioned earlier, orthodontics is a specialized field of dentistry that is related to correcting bites and misaligned jaws. While a dentist may not be accepted as an orthodontist, an orthodontist may also work as a dentist. Having done the basic degree required for dentistry, orthodontists may or may not choose to continue with the broader field of dentistry. This option is however not open to dentists. Thus, all orthodontists are dentists but not all dentists are orthodontists.

What do dentists take care of?

The most common services rendered by dentists include: Tooth decay treatments, Root canal treatments, Gum disease treatments, Crowns, bridges, veneers and teeth whitening treatments.

What do orthodontists take care of?

The most common services rendered by dentists include: Correction of misaligned teeth, correction of crowded teeth and jaws, Overbite and under bite treatments.

Apart from these, orthodontists may also help treat temporomandibular disorders. Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD or TMJ) occur as a result of problems concerning the jaw, jaw muscles or the surrounding facial muscles.

Educational qualifications required to become a dentist.

Initial education to become a dentist involves the completion of a 4 year graduate course in dentistry. Following the initial 4 years of the bachelor’s degree, candidates must go through clinical examinations and internships for about a year or 2. Apart from this, before starting dental practice, candidates must have a proper license to practice from the concerned dental boards.

Candidates may also take up a post graduation course in dentistry.

Educational qualifications required to become an orthodontist.

Apart from an undergraduate study and the 4 years in a dental school, specialization in orthodontics is necessary. Following this, candidates must be licensed by their state dental boards to practice as an orthodontist.

Gross salary (As per statistics taken in 2013).

Dentists: 164,750 US dollars

Orthodontists: 196, 270 US dollars.

Estimated job growth within the next 10 years.

Dentists: 16 %

Orthodontists: 16 %

The secret to having a set of flawless teeth and a beautiful smile? 23 pairs of impeccable genes, a dentist and an orthodontist!

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