First and foremost, all orthodontists are dentists but not all dentists are orthodontists. Both are doctors who help patients with oral hygiene and matters related to the teeth, but orthodontists attend an additional 2-3 years of training where they solely focus on complex issues related to the mouth such as jaw alignment, teeth straightening, malocclusion, improperly spaced teeth and more.

Both your dentist and your orthodontist will work together to make sure you have a healthy smile, but it is a patient’s job to make sure they are receiving the best possible care for their oral health. While seeing your dentist or ordering something online for orthodontic treatment may seem convenient or appealing, you should only trust your smile with a certified orthodontic specialist who has the training and qualifications to help you achieve your healthiest and best smile.

An orthodontist is a specialist in straightening teeth and aligning jaws. They have advanced training in orthodontics and spend 100 percent of their time helping patients achieve healthier smiles and better self-esteem by identifying, preventing and treating bad bites.

More complex issues require you to see a specialist who has received additional training beyond dental school. Your orthodontist is a specialist and has attended an additional four to six thousand hours of intense training to become certified to fix the following problems:

  • Crooked smile or teeth
  • Misaligned jaws
  • Improper bite and chewing food
  • Underbite or overbite
  • Braces, retainers or other corrective devices