Which Professional for Your Dental Need: Routine and Specialized Care

When presented with a need for a dental professional, for a problem tooth or just regular dental care, many people ask about the differences between the different types of designations, and who is qualified to diagnose various problems. All dental professionals receive training at a community college (hygienists), university, or technical school.

Both dentists and orthodontists are required to complete undergraduate university degrees before applying to a doctor’s program that takes four years to complete. Once they have completed their post-graduate studies, dentists will be awarded either a doctor of dental science (D.M.D.) or doctor of dental surgery (D.D.S.), which both require the same level competency and knowledge.


Dental Professionals Can Start General Practice Or Specialize

Once designated as a dentist, professionals can start a general dentistry practice or continue with their education for another three years to become an orthodontist. The best orthodontics programs are certified by the American Dental Association, upon graduation from which students become American Board of Orthodontics certified, the only professional orthodontics association recognized by the ADA. Many people ask “where are the best orthodontists near me” in Anderson, SC; Boise, ID; and Tampa, FL. Look for orthodontists with the tags D.D.S. M.S. or D.M.D. M.S. following their name to assured you are dealing with a qualified professional.

Both dentists and orthodontists are highly qualified professionals, who have completed eight and 11 years of post-secondary education, respectively: they can treat many of the same problems. Orthodontists have additional training in non-surgical methods to correct teeth and jaw alignment issues and malocclusions, which means “bad bites.”

Highly Trained Professionals

Using dental equipment like retainers and braces, orthodontists can treat overcrowded teeth, underbites, overbites, and gaps. Some dentists continue their education and are able to diagnose and treat problems with the alignment of teeth through nonsurgical means. In many cases, your dentist will refer you to an orthodontist who has been specially trained in methods used to treat a more extensive range of dental issues.

Endodontists Often Specialize In Root Canals

Many dental clinics are home to one or several dentists as well as orthodontists and endodontists, who are also qualified dentists that have completed an additional three years of schooling. Often, dentists are able to provide root canals to relieve and treat pressure as a result of infection. In certain situations, an infected tooth may be difficult for a regular dentist to treat, because of its location, or the extent of an infection, at which point they may refer patients to endodontists.

Some dentists may prefer to send all of their patients to endodontists, often depending on the size and location of the dental office. In rural and remote areas, dentists may not have the luxury of having an endodontist close by to send patients in need of root canals and other endodontic services to. Not all root canals are successful, in some cases the only solution to a problem tooth is to have it removed entirely.