The Difference Between An Orthodontist and A Dentist

Griffin & Errera Orthodontics is an office dedicated to providing patients with top care from highly qualified orthodontists. Determining which healthcare professional to help with your teeth can be perplexing. Still, our goal here is to help empower our patients to make informed decisions regarding their dental health. Let us guide you through some basics and explain the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist!


The Responsibilities of Each Profession

The Role of an Orthodontist

Focusing their practice on jaw and tooth alignment, orthodontists like our own Dr. Griffin and Dr. Errera work to ensure your smile looks its best and functions flawlessly. Their job as orthodontists is to diagnose related issues such as bite complications, crowded teeth, and malocclusion and create treatment plans unique to each patient to help them overcome the problem. 

We treat patients as young as seven to help guide jaw and teeth growth and help provide the proper space for permanent teeth to grow. While some may not need orthodontics until later in life, take comfort knowing it is never too late to start treatment! Our team firmly believes everyone deserves the chance to work towards a more beautiful smile.

The Role of a Dentist

Meanwhile, a dentist focuses on maintaining general dental health by providing teeth cleanings twice a year and working with you on preventative care. They can educate you on how to best care for your teeth through proper brushing and flossing techniques, monitoring food choices that impact oral health, and keeping a stellar smile.

Tending to your teeth throughout your life, they care for patients as young as one year old. By examining the foundation your infant has to start with, a dentist can offer appropriate care from there. As you get older, making cleaning visits part of your yearly routine can help you preserve your teeth. Age affects how your teeth react over the years, but making proactive decisions early in life can save you from complex procedures. 


The Difference Between An Orthodontist and A Dentist

Training and Education

Preparing to be a Dentist

Beginning with a science-related Bachelor’s degree, a dentist’s training starts at undergraduate school to establish a solid foundation in the sciences before moving forward with more complex dental training. Once graduated, students study towards and take the dental admission test (or DAT) to earn a spot in a college of dentistry. Once admitted, they learn high-quality patient care, preventative oral strategies, a wide range of procedures, and dental cleanings.

Upon their second graduation, studies culminate in a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree. Many dental graduate students end their formal training after eight years of schooling and go on to join an established practice or begin their own after earning a license to practice.

Entering the Field of Orthodontics

Once they complete all the requirements of becoming a dentist, orthodontists like Dr. Griffin and Dr. Errera can continue their training and pursue special training toward orthodontic mastery. Typically lasting around two years, their residency education consists of learning advanced tooth and jaw realignment techniques, including using orthodontic appliances, patient care, achieving optimal alignment, and expertly diagnosing an issue. Their time is split between the classroom and practice setting to gain the best experience possible.

After the completion of residency, orthodontists can earn board certification and their official license to practice. Certification consists of a rigorous written and clinical exam to showcase their commitment to the field and high-quality patient care.


Treatment Made Available

Specializing In Tooth and Jaw Alignment

At Griffin & Errera Orthodontics, we have a treatment option fit for each patient! Whatever your dental goals are, we can provide the following courses of action: LightForce braces, clear braces, metal braces, and Invisalign. LightForce and clear braces offer subtle looks and reliable movement using the latest in modern orthodontic technology, matching the color of your teeth. 

A traditional yet high-quality choice, metal braces are a tried and true appliance you can count on to fix any dental issue. They are more advanced than ever and are a popular and effective treatment choice for patients of all ages. 

Clear aligners are an excellent aesthetic choice, allowing orthodontists to help you straighten your smile without anyone noticing. They give you stunning results and are a removable appliance, meaning you can continue eating normally without restrictions! 

Each alignment option appears different on patients, but the amazing results remain the same across the board!

Providing General Oral Care For All

Best known for offering teeth cleanings to patients, dentists play a vital role in helping you maintain your everyday dental health while assisting with preventative care. During your cleaning, you can expect to have residual plaque and tartar cleaned off, as your dentist can polish the hard-to-reach spots. It is essential to oral care and helps keep your teeth looking like pearly whites!

During cleanings, if your dentist notices any signs of cavities, tooth decay, and the like, they will be able to help you begin treatment as soon as possible, offering flouride treatment to make them less susceptible to bacteria, fillings to get rid of small holes, and crowns to protect worn down tooth enamel. This non-exhaustive list is just the surface of your dentist’s proactive care.


The Difference Between An Orthodontist and A Dentist

Care For Your Teeth With The Right Professionals!

As a standard guideline, dentists are your go-to when experiencing general tooth pain or needing a check-up. On the other hand, orthodontists are perfect to help with teeth alignment and jaw complications. Our team is proud to provide the special orthodontic services you may need at any time in your life. Visit our website to schedule a free consultation at one of our Middleburg, Warrenton, and Culpeper practices and discover what Griffin & Errera Orthodontics can do for you!