The difference between dentists and orthodontists

There’s a common misconception that dentists and orthodontists perform the same procedures and tasks. Many believe a dentist can do what an orthodontist can do, and vice-versa.

This statement isn’t exactly true for a number of reasons. Orthodontists differ from dentists in their training, their procedures, and the problems they treat. Looking a little deeper into this difference will help you find the best quality care for your smile, and keep you from booking an appointment with an unqualified doctor.

If you’re looking for quality orthodontic care, Hess Orthodontics serves patients in Riverview, Lithia, Apollo Beach, Parrish, Sarasota and Winter Haven. Book a consultation with Hess today!

Orthodontists receive more training

The primary difference that separates orthodontists from dentists is the training they receive. While both types of doctors have to go through obligatory dental school and training, orthodontists will continue their education further in order to obtain an additional graduate degree for their orthodontic speciality.

Orthodontists will extensively study the secure and safe movement of teeth, jawbones, and cheekbones. They will also learn how to guide the development of teeth without causing damage or discomfort to their patients. These topics require extensive education, and orthodontists will typically spend two to three years in rigorous residencies and training after receiving their graduate degree.

What orthodontists do vs. what dentists do


Orthodontists specialize in the alignment of teeth and jawbones. While this may seem like a small issue, the position of these body parts determines both the look and comfort of your bite and your smile. Orthodontists can make a big difference in our level of day-to-day comfort, especially if the development of your teeth or jawbones has given you issues in the past.


Dentists typically perform more generalized services, such as check-ups, cleanings, cavity removal, root canals, and veneer installation. While some dentists also offer minor orthodontic services, it should be noted that most dentists don’t specialize in these areas.

If you’re in need of braces, a palate expander, or a retainer, it’s best to use a qualified orthodontist for these services, as dentists typically do not have experience in performing the necessary procedures for these treatments.

Need orthodontics in Riverview, Lithia, Apollo Beach, Parrish, Sarasota or Winter Haven? Schedule a consultation with Hess Orthodontics

Orthodontists have extensive training in helping their patients find a natural and comfortable solution for their smile. While a dentist can clean your teeth, an orthodontist can help you set or shape their growth, and you should always look for a qualified professional that can help you plot the best course of action that won’t cause you unnecessary discomfort.

Hess Orthodontics provides exceptional dental care and will help you understand what the best course of action is for your smile. Schedule a consultation with Hess Orthodontics today and get started on the path to a natural and comfortable smile.