If you’ve never been to the orthodontist or have had a loved one with braces, you may find yourself wondering what it is an orthodontist does. What makes them different from dentists? How much schooling do they need? Do they only work on braces?

“Orthodontics” is an Area of Specialized Dentistry

Doctors specialize in various fields, like dermatologists, ophthalmologists, and cardiologists. However, dentists can also specialize in certain areas. Orthodontists are dentists who specialize in facial and dental irregularities, like bad bites. A bad bite can lead to a variety of health problems, including gum disease and cavities, so orthodontists work to prevent and remediate these issues.

Some common dental irregularities orthodontists can fix include:

  • Underbites: Bottom teeth are positioned farther out than the top teeth
  • Overbites: Top teeth are positioned farther out than the bottom teeth
  • Overcrowding: A lack of jawbone space prevents adult teeth from aligning

Being an Orthodontist Requires Advanced Schooling

All orthodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are orthodontists. To become a certified orthodontist, dentists have to acquire three more years of schooling and participate in a residency program. Orthodontists who want to be seen as trustworthy and professional also join the American Association of Orthodontists.

Orthodontists Do More Than Just Braces

Many people associate orthodontists with getting braces, but they can help patients smile brighter with a variety of other treatment methods too.

  • Braces: Braces are one of the most common reasons someone would visit an orthodontist. Brackets are affixed to each tooth and connected by wires. They can be metal, clear, or even ceramic, and gradually align the teeth.
  • Invisalign: Invisalign aligners are growing in popularity, especially among adults. These transparent aligners fit over patients’ teeth and can be removed.
  • Retainers: Retainers keep teeth from moving after they’ve been aligned. It’s important for patients to wear their retainers regularly if they want to keep their teeth straight.

At Exeter Smiles, our orthodontists in Easton, Allentown, Reading, Lansdale, Blandon, and Exton specialize in braces and Invisalign all day, every day. This efficiency is why we can keep the cost of braces so low.

But orthodontists can also help patients using other measures, like headgear, which helps correct an overbite, and palate expanders, which help widen the jaw and give teeth more space.  

If you have more questions about what an orthodontist does, we encourage you to get in touch with our orthodontists in Easton and beyond. They’ll be glad to answer your questions and even offer a free consultation to help you find the treatment plan best for your smile.