Everything You Need to Know: Dentist vs Orthodontist

20 July 2020


It is important to maintain your dental health by visiting your dentist at least twice a year. Dentists will check and clean your teeth and ensure that you are keeping up with good oral hygiene practices. But what about orthodontists? What do they do exactly? While both dentists and orthodontist in Singapore help to keep your mouth and teeth healthy, they do so in very different ways.


When you come to think of it, both your dentist and your orthodontist work on your teeth. So what is the main difference between a dentist and an orthodontist? Dentists and orthodontists both attend dental school, and must complete advanced degree programs before they can practice. After all, dentists and orthodontists are doctors, so they need doctoral degrees. However, once they have completed the basic dental school, different paths can be taken. Dentists who have a deep passion for the art and science of moving teeth and helping facial profile development, will choose to pursue a Masters in Orthodontics. This is an additional three-year, full time, post-graduate program that is dedicated to Orthodontics (yes, we love to study!). This leads to a Master’s Degree in Orthodontics and ONLY AFTER being registered with the Singapore Dental Council can one be recognised as an Orthodontist in Singapore.


While some general dentists may place braces and Invisalign, they are not Orthodontists.


Orthodontic work is the ability to diagnose, treat and prevent dental malocclusions (bad bites) and muscular or bone issues that affect your face, lips and teeth positioning. They learn and dive deeper into facial abnormalities, bites correction & teeth growth correction and develop treatment plans to address this. 


How are they similar?


An Orthodontist and a dentist both want you to have healthy, stable teeth and gums so that you can smile confidently. 

An Orthodontist helps your overall oral comfort and health by straightening teeth so that it   easier to clean and brush daily. An Orthodontist takes into consideration your lip and facial profile in designing the best place to position your teeth and develops an efficient treatment plan to achieve these goals.


A dentists looks into the best way to achieve and maintain the best teeth aesthetics such as the colour, size, shape of your teeth as well as to eliminate dental disease such as decay, gum disease and impacted teeth. Dentists are able to design the best way to replace dental structure lost through disease with implants, crowns and veneers.


So the similarity between an orthodontist and a general dentist is that they are both here to offer diagnosis and treatment for oral related matters.


How are they different?


When it comes to creating the perfect smile, you need to make sure you are getting the right advice from the right expert. A lot of people get mixed up with the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist, specialisation is what sets an orthodontist apart.


In a nutshell, dentists help you with your overall oral care. Services that dentists provide include tooth decay extraction, diagnosis of gum disease, general cleaning of teeth & tooth restoration. Orthodontists help with correcting your overbite, underbite, tooth crowding and teeth alignments which in turn improves your oral health and gives you that perfect smile. An orthodontist is unlikely to do extractions, wisdom teeth surgeries, whitening, veneers and 6 monthly oral health check-ups. 


Orthodontists are specialised dentists that focus on the alignment of teeth, lip and facial profile, and provide services related to the following:


  • Misaligned teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Crossbite
  • Spacing
  • Moving impacted teeth into the mouth
  • Improvement of lip and facial profiles


Improper tooth alignment can lead to serious dental problems which are more expensive and costly to repair and undo, so seeing a specialist with the correct skills and knowledge is important when choosing to do braces or Invisalign braces.


If you are looking for an orthodontic clinic in Singapore, schedule an appointment with us and let our orthodontists help you with your needs today.


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