Orthodontist vs. dentist

If you’ve been looking into orthodontic treatment for yourself or someone in your family, you may have wondered if this is something that requires an orthodontist, or if it’s something your regular dentist can handle. Although there are many similarities between the two, they’re not completely interchangeable! There are some significant differences that set orthodontists apart from dentists.

If you’re looking into treatments like braces or clear aligners, it’s important to understand what those differences are. McGrory Orthodontics is proud to provide expert orthodontic care to patients of all ages in Pearland, Bellaire, and the surrounding areas. We have two experienced orthodontists on staff, and understanding what they have to offer that other dentists do not will allow you to make an informed decision about which option is best for you or your child. Let’s take a closer look at orthodontists and dentists to learn more!

Differences in education and training

Orthodontists and dentists both begin their careers in dental school. But after graduation, orthodontists take a different path, one that includes several extra years of specialized training in aligning teeth and jaws. Orthodontic residency programs are extremely competitive, and only the top students in any dental school graduating class will be accepted. These programs entail 2-3 years of full-time training that concentrates on orthodontics, with a focus on correcting orthodontic issues with braces and other appliances.

A dentist must successfully complete this residency program before they can be considered an orthodontist. To put it in simpler terms, orthodontists are dentists who also have years of additional specialized training in orthodontics behind them. Although there are always exceptions to the rule, most general dentists don’t possess this level of rigorous orthodontic training and experience.

Some dentists can straighten teeth. However….

It’s true that all dentists receive basic orthodontic training in school, and there are some general dentists who are able to provide quality orthodontic care to their patients. This is usually the result of that dentist taking continuing education seminars and acquiring extra orthodontic experience through workshops.  However, this is an imperfect system, Unlike colleges and orthodontic programs, workshops, and seminars have no way to go over such extensive and specific material in depth.

If your primary care dentist does offer orthodontic care, you may be considering them as an option. But before you choose to move forward with orthodontic treatment by your dentist, consider that an experienced orthodontist will be able to:

  • provide you with a wider variety of treatment options, from traditional metal braces to clear aligner systems like Invisalign® create a customized treatment plan for you based on your unique smile, specific needs, and desired results
  • Offer you more efficient treatments and visits, since orthodontics is their main focus
  • deliver the best possible outcome for your smile, particularly if you have a more complicated case or severe dental issues

Orthodontic care and treatment is our main focus and only specialty, so we put a lot of hard work into perfecting our techniques. Our doctors perform teeth straightening procedures daily, make an effort to keep up to date on the latest in industry practice, and regularly attend continuing education courses. We also equip our offices with the most current orthodontic equipment. As you can see, our entire team puts a lot of time and energy into providing you with nothing but the best in individualized orthodontic care!

Specialized treatment for achieving the straightest smiles

As the patient, it’s always up to you to choose your care provider. But when it comes to something as important as your smile, wouldn’t you prefer a doctor with the most specialized education, training, and experience possible? Having a general dentist perform specialized orthodontic work is a little bit like a general physician performing open heart surgery. Can it be done? Sure! But as the common saying goes, just because something can be done, it doesn’t necessarily mean it should be done.

A straighter, healthier smile isn’t all you can expect from an experienced orthodontist. Their training emphasizes optimal treatment approaches that can help avoid any unnecessary complications. This means an orthodontist is more likely to notice small things a general dentist may overlook, and will only recommend the appropriate treatment plan for you. In doing so, treatment times are reduced, there’s less chance of complications developing, and the treatment plan itself remains time and cost effective.

Choose McGrory Orthodontics for the best orthodontic experience

Here at McGrory Orthodontics, we have everything you need for an optimal orthodontic experience. Our customized care plans will see you through your treatment from start to finish – and beyond! Because our sole specialty is orthodontics, we have the experience and expertise necessary to give you the best quality, cost, and efficiency in orthodontic treatment.

If you’d like to see this level of excellence in action, we’d love to meet you and share more information on how orthodontic treatment could benefit your smile – and your life! When you schedule an initial consultation with our Pearland or Bellaire office, you’ll receive a thorough examination by one of our experienced orthodontists. Following this exam, we’ll be able to address any orthodontic issues you’re experiencing and outline a personalized treatment plan for you.

This is a no-pressure appointment! Even if you decide not to pursue orthodontic treatment immediately, our expert team is here to answer any questions or address any concerns you might have in order to make an informed decision. If you’re ready to take the very first step toward the smile you’ve always wanted, get in touch with us today to schedule a free consultation!

Learn more on our blog.