What is the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist?

What is the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist?

Modern dental care can be a bit confusing, especially when it comes to orthodontic treatments.

In the not too distant past, if you needed to have a brace fitted, you would be sent to visit an orthodontist who specialised in tooth and jaw straightening. Following the invention of invisible braces like Invisalign and clear braces like Six Month Smiles, many people are able to undertake orthodontic treatments without leaving their regular dental surgery.

While cosmetic braces have not changed the traditional roles of dental practitioners and orthodontists, they have blurred the line a bit. So, if you are looking to have your teeth straightened as an adult, do you visit an orthodontist or a dentist Spa Dental Sydney CBD?

Is there a difference

It is important to note that when it comes to dentistry, there are many different dental professions. One of them is that of a general dentist, while an orthodontist is more specialised.

In short, both professionals are trained in conducting examinations of the teeth, gums and the oral cavity, but an orthodontist has received an additional 2 years of training to become an expert in the realignment of teeth and jaws.

Who would I see for an invisible brace?

Firstly, if you want to have your teeth straightened with an adult aligner like Invisalign, you will need to visit your general dentist at your chosen dental practice.

They will be able to assess your suitability and, depending on the issue being corrected and your general oral health, you will be given the green light to wear an invisible or clear aligner.

When would I see an orthodontist?

Generally, most people will have paid a visit to the orthodontist by the time they are 7 years of age; this is to assess the position of their adult teeth and to decide whether or not they need to have a brace fitted.

If you missed this visit for whatever reason and have a more complex misalignment, then your regular dental team will be able to refer you to an orthodontist for an assessment. While there are many ways to have your teeth realigned without a metal brace, if you have a misalignment of the upper and lower jaw or a more complicated misalignment, then they may decide to fit a traditional brace.

Is all adult orthodontic treatment expensive?

Regardless of whether you wear an invisible brace or a metal one, any orthodontic treatment as an adult is going to be quite pricey.

However, many dental and orthodontic surgeries are able to offer suitable patients a payment plan or financing, to help them spread the cost of the treatment.

How long will I wear my brace for?

This depends on the issue being treated and the type of brace you are wearing.

With braces like Invisalign, the average treatment time is about 6 months, but this may vary. If you are fitted with an orthodontic brace, you can expect to wear it for a minimum of 18 months depending on the orthodontic complexity.


Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.