Orthodontists vs Dentists | New Zealand Invisalign Specialists | The Invisible Orthodontist New Zealand

Orthodontists and dentists: know the difference

Orthodontists vs dentistsOrthodontists vs dentists

For many of us, our experience of the dental profession probably started with a visit to the dental nurse’s clinic at primary school. Hopefully, this continued with regular check-ups to a family dentist. But not everyone has visited an orthodontic clinic, nor required orthodontic care. So for those who do, what is the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?

What does an orthodontist do?

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that focuses specifically on straightening teeth and ensuring your jaws are correctly aligned. Both are important to ensure your mouth functions properly when eating and chewing. Crooked or misaligned teeth and jaws can cause an array of oral and overall health problems such as digestive issues (if you’re unable to chew your food properly) and gingivitis (gum disease). 

An orthodontist will ensure your teeth and jaws are aligned correctly to avoid the risk of problems such as these developing. This is different to a dentist checking the overall health of your teeth, fixing cavities and helping you to keep up a good oral hygiene routine. 

What training does an orthodontist have?

An orthodontist is a trained dentist who has embarked on three years of postgraduate study to specialise in the field of orthodontics. Although dentists can and do provide braces treatment, orthodontists have had further training in this area and are deemed specialists.

Qualifications & Memberships
Doctor of Dental Surgery (4 years)
Master of Orthodontics (MOrth) (3 years)
Member of professional orthodontic bodies, eg. Australian Society of Orthodontists
Treatments & Services
General 6-month check-up
Fillings & extractions
Cleaning & polishing
Advises on overall oral health of teeth and gums
Fitting of orthodontic appliances, such as braces & Invisalign aligners Some general dentists may fit braces and Invisalign but they are not specialists in orthodontics
Experience & training
Is specifically trained in the movement of teeth and bite issues
Recommends and treats patients after assessing overall facial profile
Uses the latest in orthodontic technology for the benefit of patients
Attends regular training on developments in the orthodontic industry
Is a member of The Invisible Orthodontist (TIO) Network Not all orthodontists are members of TIO but those who are demonstrate further commitment to promoting invisible orthodontic treatment.