An orthodontist is a dental specialist who is specifically trained to treat maxillofacial issues like jaw misalignment, malocclusion, and correcting the alignment of your teeth and smile. After attending an undergraduate program and four years of dental school, an orthodontist spends an additional 2-4 years in a post-dental orthodontic training program. This training is often followed by fellowships and additional professional development and skill honing. When it is time to start their own practice, and orthodontist must also obtain a state-specific license.
While orthodontists are technically capable of practicing dentistry, they have chosen to focus their post graduate training and careers on the practice of orthodontics. While they know how to perform cleanings, root canals, tooth extractions, and other general dentistry procedures, they will most likely refer you to a practicing general or pediatric dentist if you are in need of those services. Dentists and orthodontists work cooperatively with their patients to ensure they have access to the services they need. For example, many young patients are referred to orthodontists by their pediatric dentists, who have been tracking their growth and development and are able to recommend an orthodontic consultation when necessary.
Orthodontists specialize in services and treatments like traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, clear aligner therapy (such as Invisalign), and other methods of correcting tooth and jaw alignment. When you make an appointment for a consultation with a board certified orthodontist, you can feel confident that the treatment and realignment of your smile is in capable hands.