It seems there’s a doctor for everything, which can be quite confusing when you aren’t sure what you’re looking for. However, each of these medical professionals is skilled, highly-trained, and educated regarding a very specific part of the body as well as a very specific job for that part of the body. Dental professionals are medical doctors trained in many different aspects of dental and oral healthcare, and each one is just a little different. Perhaps you’re wondering about the difference between a dentist and orthodontist, or the difference between an endodontist and a dentist, or even the difference between a Dentist, Endodontist and Orthodontist. It’s not uncommon, but the details of their jobs are very specific.
What is a Dentist?
The dentist is your most common dental professional. This is the person you see when you need a cleaning, when you’re ready for your biannual checkup, or when you’re experiencing an issue such as pain or even discoloring. Your dentist cares for your oral health, teaches you to care for your oral health, and keeps disease and other issues at bay by diagnosing them early and tackling the issue before it’s a major health concern.
Dentists must graduate from a four-year college program with a Bachelor’s Degree. They must then attend a dental school where they are issued a doctoral degree in dentistry, and many are required to complete a residency program depending on where they live and what kind of dental specialty they perform. Your dentist can fill your teeth, provide you with dentures, crowns, and other needs you might have.
What is an Orthodontist?
Your orthodontist is that guy who gave you braces when you were an awkward adolescent already struggling with your place in life trying to fit in. In all seriousness, though, your orthodontist specializes in braces. Medically speaking, the job your orthodontist does pertains to malocclusions. This is a problem in the jaw or the position of a tooth or teeth.
– Extra teeth
– Missing teeth
– Other structural issues
These are the types of issues your orthodontist deals with. You won’t see an orthodontist in your lifetime unless your dentist discovers a problem that might require a referral to an orthodontist. This could include the need for braces, retainers, or even the removal of teeth such as your wisdom teeth.
An orthodontist has the same educational background as a dentist. However, the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist in terms of education is an orthodontist is required to continue his or her education to obtain a post-doctorate degree in orthodontics. It takes longer, it’s more education, and it’s a more specialized career.
What is an Endodontist?
The endodontist is perhaps the least well-known of the three. You know your dentist personally, your orthodontist is a well-known person because of all the people in need of braces, and your endodontist is one of those doctors you may or may not ever meet. Your dentist will refer you to an endodontist for very specific issues, and these issues are all root-related.
Endodontists specialize in dental pulp and nerve care. If you need a root canal at any point in your life, this is the person you see for that job. You might also see the endodontist if you have pain that cannot be explained by any other common dental issues if you are involved in an accident in which a tooth is dislocated from its socket or several other treatments for similar issues.
The educational requirements for a degree in endodontics are similar to both an orthodontist and a dentist. You must have a four-year college degree and attend graduate school to earn a doctorate degree in the dental field. Unlike a dentist, who is finished after that doctorate degree is earned, you must then follow up with a two-year postgraduate degree program in endodontics. The difference between an orthodontist and an endodontist in the postgraduate part of their education is the specific program in which they study.
Understanding Dental Professional Goals
No matter which type of dental professional you’re seeing, they all share the same goal. This goal is to ensure your dental health is as good as it should be, your future is healthy, and any pain and suffering you’re dealing with are appropriately dealt with in a timely manner. While it is most common to see a dentist and less common to have anything to do with either an orthodontist or endodontist, some people see all three at some point.
Dental professionals work closely with both orthodontists and endodontists to help provide comprehensive oral health care needs to individuals. Your oral health care is directly and closely related to the overall health of your body. Many people are unaware that leaving their teeth uncared for can cause problems far worse than just gum disease or periodontal disease. The development of either significantly increases your risk of developing serious health problems later in life.
– Heart disease
– Certain types of cancer
– Heart attack
These are some of the very serious health problems linked to poor oral health care. Pregnant women put the health of their babies at risk if they don’t see the dentist to prevent gum disease. Women who practice poor oral health care and have gum disease develop a much higher risk of giving birth to premature babies as well as babies with low birth weights. It’s time to call your dentist, and it’s time to find out if they might refer you to one of their dental associates.
Good oral health care is not possible unless you see your dental professional two times a year. If you are having dental problems, call us now and we’ll walk you through a treatment plan.
2002 Richard Jones Road
Nashville, TN 37215
Phone: 615 269 5903
Dentist-Endodontist-Orthodontist (What’s The Difference?)
Dr. Joel Gluck has practiced orthodontics since 1983 when he opened his own office in Nashville. He earned his undergraduate degree at Washington University in St. Louis, and his dental degree at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Gluck then completed an orthodontic specialty residency at the University of Michigan, one of the top five orthodontic training residencies in the country. He also wrote an original thesis and received a Master of Science degree.