It’s a common question that most of our patients have wondered about: What’s the difference between orthodontics and regular dentists? While everyone knows that orthodontists handle braces and aligners, most people don’t know just what else orthodontists in Clermont do or what makes us so different from regular dentists.

Here’s a quick guide on the differences and similarities between orthodontics and regular dentistry.


Let’s start with the obvious: Both work on teeth. Orthodontists and dentists alike are focused on your oral health and hygiene and propose solutions to current or potential future problems. The way they do this, however, is where the differences arise.


Orthodontists and dentists work in different ways to promote oral hygiene. The education they undergo is also different.

Every orthodontist is a dentist, but not every dentist is an orthodontist. To become an orthodontist, dentists must continue their schooling and specialize in orthodontics. If they don’t go through this extra schooling, then they’re a regular dentist.

The focus of both is also different. While the overall goal is oral health and hygiene, orthodontists concentrate on the alignment of your teeth, bite issues, and occlusion, whereas dentists focus on cleanliness.

Orthodontists use devices and tools to help your oral hygiene. This means braces, retainers, aligners, and other such devices. Dentists offer services. They work on tooth decay, cavities, staining, and other cleanliness issues that don’t require oral devices.


As you can see, orthodontists and dentists don’t offer the same services. Oftentimes, their services are complementary to each other and may be recommended in tandem. Some people may never need to visit an orthodontist, but those who do will still have to see a dentist for other services and cleanliness checkups.

Here’s a brief list of the different services orthodontists and dentists offer:


  • Supervise facial growth, particularly in the jawline and bite
  • Install dental appliances such as braces
  • Perform teeth-straightening surgery
  • Diagnose and treat misaligned teeth
  • Provide treatment plans that may include dental devices


  • Conduct and review dental x-rays
  • Repair cracked or broken teeth
  • Fill cavities and install crowns or veneers
  • Remove teeth
  • Whiten teeth
  • Treat gum disease and other oral conditions

Can Orthodontists and Dentists Perform Each Other’s Work?

Sometimes. While orthodontists generally don’t provide the same services as a regular dentist, a regular dentist may sometimes provide basic orthodontic care but with limited expertise. In most cases, though, a dentist will refer you to an orthodontist if they believe you could benefit from their services or for specific oral concerns. 

When Should You See an Orthodontist?

Your dentist will refer you to an orthodontist if you need one. If you notice crooked teeth or feel like your bite is off, you can speak with your dentist about getting a referral to an orthodontist. Even if you don’t notice anything is off, though, your dentist will bring it up if it’s pertinent to your oral healthcare, so you don’t have to worry about missing anything.

Common reasons why people see an orthodontist include crooked or crowded teeth, overbite or underbite issues, jaw problems such as TMD, and large spaces between teeth. Orthodontists can fix all of these issues, even if they don’t present a health concern. Orthodontists help with a lot of aesthetic treatments when it comes to keeping straight teeth and fixing smiles.

Consult Modern Orthodontics Today

Many people are confused by the nuanced differences between orthodontists and dentists because they just see them as two professionals that work on teeth. However, they are different, and they each focus on a different important part of your oral hygiene. Without both, dental care wouldn’t be as advanced as it is today.

In most cases, you won’t be forced to decide between an orthodontist or a regular dentist. You can easily benefit from both and get care from both without an issue. Call us today if you need specialized and expert orthodontic care!

Author: Dr. Alan Wong
Dr. Alan Wong is a dedicated orthodontist who loves helping his patients achieve healthy, beautiful smiles. He is committed to providing gentle, effective care in a patient-centered environment. Dr. Wong is also a strong believer in continuing education, so he can provide his patients with the latest and greatest treatment options.