In order to answer the question of “what is the difference between an Orthodontist vs. a Dentist?” we’ll first need to cover the practices of the Orthodontist. Essentially, to become an Orthodontist, you first have to go to college, then dental school, and then orthodontic school. Much like surgeons, Orthodontists complete residency programs for 2-3 years after orthodontic school. Fun fact! For every orthodontic residency program, there are at least 15 applicants – meaning competition is high! To be clear, Orthodontics is a specialty within Dentistry.

The definition of an Orthodontist from the AAO reads “Orthodontists diagnose, prevent, intercept and treat dental and facial irregularities.” To elaborate, these “irregularities” are usually overcrowded teeth, gapped teeth, misaligned jaws, and so on. For example, if you wanted to seek help straightening your teeth using braces or Invisalign, you’d likely go to an Orthodontist like Dr. Meschke. In fact, you can schedule a free consultation with Dr. Meschke today! Just click here to begin.


Whereas Orthodontists typically focus on correcting bites, occlusion, and making teeth straight, dentists focus on a much broader range of oral health concerns. For example, Dentists diagnose oral diseases, monitor the development of teeth and jaws, and perform surgical procedures on the bone, teeth, and soft tissues of the mouth. These are just a few of the treatments Dentists are capable of performing.

Can general dentist do orthodontics?

While some orthodontics is covered during Dentist school, it is very sparse for a reason. Orthodontists require specialized training in addition to Dentistry training. Furthermore, Orthodontics is a specialty of Dentistry.

Are Orthodontists doctors?

Orthodontists are doctors. They have to undergo extensive educational training. For example, first they must obtain their Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Medical Dentistry from an accredited institution. Then, to become an Orthodontist, they must complete a Masters of Science degree in Orthodontics.

Do you have to become a Dentist before becoming an Orthodontist?

Yes, as stated above, Orthodontists go through Dentist school. This allows Orthodontists to capably perform most of the procedures of a Dentist!

What Is The Difference – Orthodontist vs. Dentist

Ultimately, the differences between an Orthodontist vs. a Dentist is an increased demand for educational aptitude in the specialty of Orthodontics! Fortunately, Dr. Meschke is more than qualified to handle all of your Orthodontic concerns. Simply click here to begin your first free consultation, today!

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