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Orthodontist vs. Dentist

Orthodontist vs. Dentist

Woman & Dentist 5.10.18Dentists and orthodontists are similar in various ways. Each has the necessary expertise to give you a dazzling smile. But while each can treat your pearly whites, dentists and orthodontists specialize in different areas of oral health. Choosing the right one depends on your unique circumstances.

What Do Dentists Focus On?

Dentists must earn a bachelor’s degree before they enter dental school. Dental school consists of a four-year doctoral degree program. The dental student graduates with a doctor of dental surgery (D.D.S.) or doctor of dental medicine (D.M.D.) distinction.

A dentist usually focuses on the following dental services:

  • Checkups
  • Cleanings (performed by dental hygienists who assist the dentist)
  • X-rays
  • Tooth extractions
  • Filling cavities
  • Making models for dentures or bridgework
  • Root canals
  • Tooth whitening
  • Veneers
  • Crowns
  • Gum care

Essentially, a dentist is your first choice to perform routine, overall dental care. When you have dental issues outside the scope of general dentistry, your dentist will refer you to an orthodontist.

What Do Orthodontists Focus On?

Like dentists, orthodontists must earn a bachelor’s degree and either a D.D.S. or D.M.D. degree. However, orthodontist students continue their education for another three years in a residency program at a university affiliated with the American Dental Association. After a successful residency, the student will be eligible to seek board certification from the American Board of Orthodontics.

Unlike dentists that specialize in complete oral care, orthodontists specialize in correcting tooth and jaw alignment problems using non-surgical techniques. Some orthodontic procedures include:

  • Diagnosing overbites and underbites
  • Attaching braces or retainers to straighten crooked, crowded, or overly gapped teeth
  • Overseeing the proper use of Invisalign
  • Attaching wires and other corrective appliances for jaw misalignments

Orthodontists give their patients confidence by restoring a winning smile, but by correcting jaw or tooth alignments a patient can avoid tooth decay, get relief for strained jaw muscles from chewing, and avoid gum disease.

Should I See a Dentist or Orthodontist or Both?

It’s important for everyone to see a dentist yearly for an overall checkup and a hygienist twice a year for cleanings. If your teeth are gums are in good shape, a yearly dentist visit will keep you on the road to good oral health. During your exam, your dentist will check your x-rays for signs that your teeth are moving out of alignment and to look for cavities. The dentist will visually inspect your teeth and check for loose fillings. Any minor problems can be fixed during the exam or at a follow-up appointment. Cleanings are important because the hygienist removes harmful plaque buildup from your teeth and inspects your gums for signs of periodontal disease.

If your dentist notices problems with your tooth alignment of discovers that your jaw is misaligned, they will refer you to a trusted orthodontist to correct the problems. Some dental practices employ both dentists and orthodontists, but many maintain separate practices. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that you first consult with an orthodontist at age 7. Also, you do not need a referral from you general dentist for an orthodontist.

Where Can I Find an Orthodontist in NYC?

At Amazing Smiles, we offer high quality, affordable orthodontic care to residents of Long Island, Forest Hills, Brooklyn, and the surrounding communities. Dentists throughout the greater NYC area have referred their patients to our practice for more than 30 years to correct dental problems requiring braces, retainers, Invisalign, and much more. Contact us today for an appointment.

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Orthodontics for kids: Best time for your child’s first orthodontist visit?

Orthodontics for kids: Best time for your child’s first orthodontist visit?

If I had a dollar for every time I’m asked… In short, the American Orthodontics Association recommends a child’s first visit to the orthodontist by age 7. With early orthodontic intervention, you’ll have the best chance to give your child his/her best chance for a beautiful, healthy smile— as well as helping to prevent costly procedures in the future like having to buy CPAP Masks which we also recommend for your health.

Here’s why:

–> orthodontists can detect even the subtlest problems with your child’s jaw growth and emerging teeth (even when some baby teeth are still present), and take simple, proactive measures that can prevent more serious problems from developing as your child grows.

–> Even if your child’s teeth appear straight, his/her bite could be off, causing problems that are not readily evident.

–> According to Hamilton orthodontics, specialist’s intervention at a young age can result in a much shorter treatment time and less complicated (and expensive) measures later in life.

–> In certain cases, orthodontic treatment at a young age can achieve results that may not be available when the face and jaw has finished growing. That’s because an orthodontist can help:

  • improve the function and alignment of the bite
  • influence jaw growth
  • reduce the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
  • correct harmful oral habits

–> The purpose of early “interceptive” treatment is also to help avoid future extractions of permanent teeth as we can better plan for space while the child is growing and all the permanent teeth have not yet come in.

–> Children with “bucked” teeth can often be socially ostracized. In addition, they are more susceptible to trauma if they fall – and if teeth are traumatized treatment is much more difficult to manage.


That’s right. You have nothing to lose and a beautiful, healthy smile to gain throughout life by bringing your child (up to age 10) in for his or her free orthodontic check up with our compliments. While I recommend a child’s first orthodontic visit at about age 7, some children require even earlier intervention.

Eckstein and Yusupov Orthodontics is proud to serve children and adults of all ages. Schedule your child’s free initial consultation at the office most convenient for you. We have locations in Mill Basin, Brooklyn; Forest Hills and Rosedale, Queens; and Cedarhurst, Long Island.

You’re never too young or old to have a great smile! Because 286 Madison Dental ( is there to help you. They offer patients superior dental care by utilizing state-of-the-art technology in a comfortable and tranquil setting. Unlike many dentists and periodontists, consideration and empathy are of the utmost importance in communicating with their patients.

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