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Orthodontist Vs. Dentist: Which Should You See?

Regularly visiting a doctor for your oral healthcare needs is a crucial aspect of keeping your teeth, gums, and jawbone in optimal shape, but have you ever questioned whether a dentist or an orthodontist is the right person to call for your oral hygiene needs? Essentially, both dentists and orthodontists are doctors who specialize in oral healthcare. So, what makes them different, and which one should you see for your next oral health check-up?

What Does A Dentist Do?

Dentists are trained to deal with nearly every aspect of oral healthcare. Just like how your primary care doctor is your first line of defense against any pressing health concerns, your dentist should be your go-to phone call anytime you have a concern about your dental health. Dentists are equipped to diagnose and treat a wide range of oral health conditions. You might notice that some dentists specialize in a particular area such as pediatric dentistry. However, the majority of dentists practice either general or family dentistry and can see patients of all ages and backgrounds. Much like other medical professionals, dentists receive extensive education and spend years preparing to treat patients before they are able to open up their own practice.

Here are a few of the things you might want to call your dentist for…

  • Teeth cleanings
  • Check-ups
  • Tooth pain
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Gum swelling
  • Cracked or damaged teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Teeth whitening
  • Pain in the gums or jawbone

What Does An Orthodontist Do?

Orthodontists receive the same level of education as a dentist. The difference? They specialize in the alignment of teeth and surrounding bone structures. In this sense, they are more of a specialized doctor than your general dentist. Orthodontists can assist with making sure that the teeth and jaw are properly aligned and can help diagnose any conditions that are causing misalignment for your teeth. It’s usually recommended that children see an orthodontist as soon as their adult teeth start coming in so that any potential misalignment issues can be addressed before the adult teeth are fully in place.

Here are a few things you might want to call your orthodontist for…

  • Noticeably misaligned teeth
  • Braces or retainers
  • Misshapen jawbone
  • Tooth alignment surgery
  • Other dental appliances like expanders or headgear

Who Should You Call?

While you might want to visit an orthodontist if you have concerns about the alignment of your teeth, you should always consult with your dentist first to address any oral health concerns and develop a plan of treatment. Your dentist will be able to properly assess the situation and recommend the best course of action for you, which might include enlisting the help of an orthodontist. Dr. Julie Liberman DDS of Great Neck Dental Care NY proudly serves patients of all ages in the Great Neck area, spanning New Hyde Park, Floral Park, Douglaston, Jericho, Roslyn, etc. Book your checkup today to determine if a trip to the orthodontist is right for you.

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Never been happier with a dentist before! The professionalism, individual care, sparkling clean office, and the range of services are amazing. Highly recommended! 

-Dave K., From a Yelp Review
Merrick, NY