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Orthodontist vs. Dentist

(And Batman vs. Spiderman)

Which one is right for you?

Both dentists and orthodontists help you take care of your teeth, just in different ways. Like Batman and Spiderman both save people, just with different superpowers.


For getting your teeth cleaned, fixing a chipped tooth, filling a cavity or saving the day on some other tooth damage, a dentist swoops in.


For straightening your teeth, fixing mouth and jaw problems, and giving you a big boost of confidence, an orthodontist is your hero.

boy and grandpa on a bumper car

What’s in common

Unfortunately, it doesn’t include a cape. Orthodontists and dentists do have some things in common.

Both must:

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree
  • Complete a doctorate in dentistry

But once that’s complete, dentists can start working in a practice right away—while orthodontists still have a ways to go.

How they differ

In addition to their dentistry doctorate, orthodontists have to get accepted in an accredited orthodontic residency program and complete two to three years of extra study.

During that time, they must learn:

  • Patient management skills
  • Childhood growth and development processes
  • How airways and breathing function
  • Teeth alignment and facial development guidance practices

Orthodontists and dentists work differently—together

When it comes to orthodontists vs. dentists, the winner is: You!

By working together, we keep your teeth, and you, healthy. In fact, dentists will often notice issues during a regular dental checkup and cleaning that could be corrected by an orthodontist.

But even without a referral, you are always welcome to schedule a complimentary first visit with an orthodontist to discuss issues that can be corrected with braces or other orthodontic treatments. And, while you’re going through an orthodontic treatment, regular visits to your dentist for cleanings will help keep your smile bright and your teeth healthy.

a teen girl giving another teen girl a piggyback ride smiling

Let us take care of your teeth

Vivid Orthodontics specializes in straightening and aligning your teeth with advanced procedures and equipment. If you’re still asking yourself, “What is an orthodontist?” or any other dental question, call at (920) 739-2400. We are happy to help.