General Dentist vs Orthodontist: What's the difference?

We would like to start off by saying we have the highest respect for our fellow general dentist. We are often asked this question by our patients what's the difference between an orthodontist and a general dentist when it comes to performing orthodontic services. An orthodontist is a dentist, who after graduating from dental school, completes an additional 2-3 years full-time university based education in an accredited orthodontic residency program. By learning about the biology of tooth movement (orthodontics) and facial development (dentofacial orthopedics), orthodontists are specifically educated experts in dentistry to straighten teeth and to properly align jaws.

Orthodontists limit their practices to orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. This means that orthodontic treatment is what they do, and all they do. Many family dentists can legally do Invisalign or braces after taking a weekend or night courses. They do not have the breadth of knowledge to understand all the possible complications of treatment and offer all the best treatment options.