What’s the difference between a dentist, and an Orthodontist?
  • June 23, 2017, 3:01 p.m.
  • orthodontics, dentists, specialists

What’s the difference between a dentist, and an Orthodontist?

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When it comes to having dental treatment to achieve the perfect smile, you want to make sure you’re in the best hands possible! While dentists and orthodontists have a lot in common, specialisation is what sets an orthodontist apart from a general dentist.  

Think of it like the difference between your family GP doctor and a specialist physician such as a neurosurgeon or a cardiologist. Your family’s general dentist will be able to help you to improve your overall oral health, with such procedures as fillings and regular examinations and cleans, but a specialist orthodontist is the only properly qualified person to diagnose, prevent and treat dental or facial irregularities, and correctly align your teeth, bite and jaws.

As well as completing a five year degree in dentistry, an orthodontist also undergoes a further three years of specialist training in the field of orthodontics. Whether you or your child are being treated with braces or clear aligners such as Invisalign, you need to be sure you’re being treated by an orthodontist to get the best results.

How do I know my dentist is a specialist orthodontist?

If you’re not sure if your practitioner is a specialist orthodontist, there are a few easy ways to find out.  You can check the website of the Australian Society of Orthodontists.  Every member of the Australian Society of Orthodontists is a registered specialist orthodontist.  Most members of the Australian Society of Orthodontists display a sticker or sign in their window which shows they are member of the ASO and therefore a registered specialist orthodontist. Keep an eye out for the light blue logo in the window of your orthodontist’s practice. 

You can also search AHPRA - The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency website has the details of all registered health professionals in the country, including general dentists and dental specialists such as orthodontists. You can easily search their records to find out your practitioner’s credentials. Look for the registration type ‘Dentist – Specialist’ to confirm they are an orthodontist. 

You can always ask!  It’s always best to check whether or not your orthodontist is a registered specialist with an independent organisation. However, as a final option you can always speak to the receptionist at your orthodontist’s practice if you’re still not sure.


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