The Difference Between A Dentist And A Orthodontist

When an oral issue arises out of the blue, it can be hard to decide which doctor’s expertise can help you. At Williams Orthodontics, we are here to help you make sense of the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist and how both can walk you through complications. If you seek treatment for yourself or a family member, our team can walk you through the next steps!



Establishing a foundation in science, dentists begin their educational journey by completing a four-year undergraduate degree. They use this knowledge to study for their dental admission test. Upon passing, they spend the next four years gaining clinical experience to master patient care and treatment and learn procedures such as fillings, root canals, and extractions.

Completing dental school culminates in a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree or a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. Many dentists use the skills they’ve earned to begin their own practice or join an established office.


Focusing on general dental care, dentists are most likely the first oral healthcare professionals you encounter. They help you ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy and can easily spot the first signs of disease, decay, or cavities. Dentists create a solid dental foundation on which oral hygiene routines can easily support your well-being.

They can educate you on how to best care for your teeth through proper flossing and brushing techniques, monitoring dietary choices that impact oral health, and keeping a stellar smile to boost your confidence. These oral healthcare professionals see patients from infants to adults to ensure their teeth stay on the right track.

Care Options

Best known for their teeth cleanings, one of the dentists’ main goals is to see patients twice a year to clean off residual tartar and plaque buildup. Cleanings allow them to check for any signs of gum disease, cavities, tooth decay, and similar issues. 

Also providing procedures to help restore and preserve teeth, dentists offer crowns, fillings, teeth whitening, and root canals. Each works toward ensuring your original teeth persevere without an implant. However, implants are also an option should your tooth suffer from severe decay.

These routine visits not only act as the cornerstone of your dental health but allow your dentist to stay updated on your teeth so they can provide you with proactive steps towards keeping yourself healthy. 

The Difference Between A Dentist and A Orthodontist



Completing the same education track as dentists, orthodontists continue their training for another few years. After dental school graduation, students can hone their skills further and delve into a dental specialty. 

Special training is pursued through orthodontic residency, where candidates return to the classroom to become experts in the intricacies of tooth and jaw alignment, how to diagnose and treat related issues, and how to master high-quality patient-centric care. Time is also spent in a professional practice where students work with actual patients to master everything involved in the profession.

Licensing requires at least ten years before orthodontists begin their own practice or join an established one. They may also go on to become board-certified professionals. Their skills are again tested through a written and clinical exam to showcase their dedication.


Concentrating on jaw and tooth alignment patients, orthodontists, like our own Dr. Williams, focus on diagnosing each patient’s concerns, creating personalized treatment plans, and effectively aligning teeth. They can help you achieve your dental goals of an aligned jaw and a straight smile that functions perfectly.

Williams Orthodontics believes every patient deserves to reap the benefits of a great smile, both aesthetic and practical. Leaving such intricate treatment reserved under the care of an orthodontist like Dr. Williams can ensure you receive high-quality care.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends bringing your child for a preliminary orthodontic appointment around seven years old. They may not require immediate care, but the earlier a diagnosis can be made, the more straightforward treatment will be later in their life. 

Care Options

Our team at Williams Orthodontics can confidently meet your smile goals and start working on your teeth wherever they are. We offer teeth alignment care options, including metal braces, clear braces, and clear aligners for teens and adults. 

Metal braces are an excellent traditional option that orthodontic offices are best known for. They provide reliable results and hold a proven track record for effectively fixing a wide range of oral issues.

Clear braces are made of ceramic and offer the dependability of metal braces while offering a subtle, nearly invisible look. Their tooth-colored brackets blend in with your teeth and provide results quickly!

Clear aligners for adults and teens do the same job with some different features for teens to ensure the trays are worn for the appropriate amount of time per day. This appliance is custom-made for each patient, allowing for quick and optimal tooth movement, and is a favorite for those looking for an aesthetically pleasing look throughout treatment.

How They Work Together

Both dentists and orthodontists are crucial in preserving your long-term oral health. Dentists can provide care that helps you daily by equipping you with the knowledge to prevent common oral diseases. Keeping up with your twice-yearly appointments is a great way to ensure you can keep your teeth in shape and properly functioning. 

Orthodontists, however, provide specific care for a service only some may need. The additional training they undergo to ensure mastery of the craft makes all the difference when deciding who to turn to for braces or aligners. Specialists like Dr. Williams are there to ensure you have a smooth smile journey and are thrilled with the results at the end of treatment.

The Difference Between A Dentist and A Orthodontist

Let Us Help You On Your Upcoming Journey

While determining whether you need a dentist or an orthodontist’s eye on an oral issue, we hope this guide solves any confusion you may have. If you require teeth alignment or still have questions about Williams Orthodontics, please contact our offices, and our team will happily help you. You can reach our El Dorado office at 870-729-7989 or our Monroe practice at 318-242-8148 to schedule a free consultation today!