Is Your Dentist Also An Orthodontist?

Patient in chair with doctor

Both dentists and orthodontists work on teeth so it is understandable to have confusion between the two. They both provide professional care that helps patients have good oral health, and both are dental school graduates. Your dentist may even offer orthodontic services, leading you to assume that he/she is an orthodontist, but the truth is that putting aligners or braces on teeth does not make a dentist an orthodontist.

Dentists, who are also known as general (or family) dentists, are concerned with overall oral health. Dentists treat decayed teeth (fillings) and remove failed teeth (extractions). They usually provide services such as crowns, veneers or bonding to improve the appearance and function of teeth that have extensive decay or are misshapen or broken. Dentists look for abnormalities in the mouth and teach patients how to prevent dental disease.

As knowledgeable and skillful as dentists are, certain areas of dentistry have educational programs beyond dental school. Orthodontics is one of those areas. General dentists are licensed to practice dentistry. Some states allow them to provide specialty care, even if they do not have formal post-dental school training in specialty services. For example, a dentist may be able to perform a root canal, but that does not mean he/she is an endodontist. A dentist may be able to extract a tooth, but that does not mean he/she is an oral surgeon. Likewise, a dentist may be able to provide braces or aligners to move teeth, but that does not mean the dentist is an orthodontist.

Dental specialists get to be specialists by completing four years of general dental education in dental school and then continuing in an accredited program where they study their specific specialty full-time for two or more years. When dentists study a specialty area successfully and complete their formal specialty education, they are able to use a title that denotes their area of specialization. “Orthodontist” is one example.

Other dental specialists include endodontists, who specialize in root canals; periodontists, who specialize in treating gum disease; pediatric dentists, who specialize in dental care for the under-21 age group; and oral and maxillofacial surgeons, who specialize in face, mouth and jaw surgery.

Orthodontists are specialists who focus on the bite – how teeth meet and function, how they are aligned, how they are set in the jaws, and the positioning and sizes of the upper and lower jaws.

Only orthodontists have the additional two or more years of orthodontic education from a program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, providing them with specialized training in moving teeth.

Drs. Mary Paula and Henry Zaytoun Jr. have not only completed their orthodontic schooling after attending and completing dental school, but they also went the extra mile and became board certified orthodontists with the ABO (American Board of Orthodontics). Only one-third of all practicing orthodontists are board certified which magnifies the level of expertise the doctors at Zaytoun Orthodontics has. There is no case too complex for Zaytoun doctors and the patient’s needs are always at the forefront above anything else. The award-winning team at Zaytoun Orthodontics provides a “heart of service” to all it’s patients so they feel a part of the extended Zaytoun family.

Contact us today to schedule a FREE examination and consultation at one of our convenient triangle locations- Raleigh, Cary & Garner. 919-782-6911.