Dentistry has come a long way since the time when it was performed by the first experts. Now, it has divided into specialties that treat different types of problems that have to do with the mouth. Two of those specialties are orthodontics and endodontics.
What is a Dentist?
First, it’s best to describe a dentist in general practice. A dentist is a medical professional who has at least a bachelor’s degree from college and has attended a school of dentistry after taking a dental admissions test. During their stay at the school of dentistry, dentists both study and train, which includes treating patients. When their training is completed, they receive a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree, or a DMD. Dentists who enter a specialty such as endodontics or orthodontics go on to postgraduate study in their chosen field.
A dentist in general practice examines the patient’s mouth, makes diagnoses, plans and provides treatment and helps the patient prevent oral diseases. They make use of X-rays and other equipment to do this. They fill cavities, remove teeth and the pulp and nerves of teeth, treat gum diseases and replace lost teeth with dentures or bridges. They are trained in the use of local or regional anesthesia when performing work that may be painful. The dentist also recommends their patients to specialists.
What is the Difference between a Dentist and Orthodontist?
The answer to what is the difference between a dentist and orthodontist question is that the orthodontist is concerned with malformations of the patient’s teeth. These malformations cause the patient’s bite to be misaligned or cause the teeth to be crowded or found in the wrong place in the jaw. These conditions are not only unsightly but can make it hard for the patient to take care of their teeth properly, which puts them at risk for tooth decay. They can also make eating and speaking difficult. An orthodontist corrects these problems with devices such as braces, Invisalign and palate expanders.
Braces are somewhat more streamlined than they were some years ago. They can still be traditional metal brackets and wires, but they can also be tooth colored or clear. It takes a specially trained orthodontist to apply these types of braces. Most orthodontic patients wear braces from six months to three years. They can only be safely removed by the orthodontist. Even after the patient is finished wearing their braces, they need to wear a retainer to train the teeth to stay in alignment.
Patients who find braces unattractive can opt for Invisalign, which is a series of transparent plastic trays that align the teeth over time like braces. Patients wear Invisalign for about as long as they wear braces, but they have the advantage of being able to be taken out and put back in by the patient. This allows the patient to eat the foods that they want and to tend to their dental hygiene. Invisalign trays are also hard to see. This and the ability to take them out at will is what makes Invisalign attractive to many patients.
Palate expanders are stainless steel bars attached to rings the orthodontist places on the patient’s molars. They are made to gently open up the palate, or the roof of the mouth. This is done because the patient’s teeth are crowded, cross over each other or are misaligned. Palate expanders are most often used on children because the palate’s growth plate have not fused yet. Most patients wear palate expanders for four months or so.
What is the Difference between a Dentist and Endodontist?
An endodontist specializes in conditions that affect the pulp of a patient’s tooth. A general dentist may not have the skill to deal with these problems and should refer their patient to an endodontist.
Endodontists specialize in procedures such as root canal therapy. Patients seek root canal therapy when the pulp in their tooth, which contains nerves and blood vessels, becomes inflamed or infected. The endodontist clears away the infection, cleans the pulp chambers and fills them with gutta percha. The tooth is then given a filling or if there’s not enough healthy tooth left, a crown attached to a dental implant. An implant might be more the specialty of a prosthodontist, who installs prosthetics to replace lost teeth. At the same time, the endodontist does take care of patients who have had their teeth broken, chipped or knocked out because of accidents.
Endodontists also perform surgery to repair fractures or other problems with teeth that X-rays can’t quite pick up. One type of surgery is apicoectomy. It is performed to treat an infection that has invaded the bone at the bottom of the tooth after the patient has had root canal therapy. The endodontist opens up the gum near the tooth, removes the end of the root found there then seals it. The bone eventually heals around the end of the root.
What is the Difference between an Endodontist and Orthodontist?
While the endodontist deals with infected or injured teeth, the orthodontist works to bring teeth into alignment. People may not see the results of the endodontist’s labor, though the patient will be grateful for them. People will see the work of the orthodontist as the patient’s bite improves over time. This improvement is not just cosmetic, though the patient’s new smile can win them new friends and influence people. An aligned bite makes it easier to chew and to speak and is simply more comfortable to experience.
Contact Your Orthodontist
If you or your child suffer from misaligned teeth, make an appointment with your orthodontist today.
Team Demas Orthodontics
27 Meriden Ave #2a, Southington, CT 06489, USA