Home/Blog / What Is the Difference Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist?

When considering orthodontic procedures for yourself or a loved one, knowing the differences between the types of professionals to whom you will place your trust is very important. While a general dentist may offer orthodontic treatments such as braces, Invisalign®, or other options, there are some clear distinctions between a general dentistry practice and one that is overseen by a specialty-trained orthodontist.

Let’s start with one major similarity: both dentists and orthodontists will typically undergo a dentistry training program that results in a DDM (Doctor of Dental Medicine) or DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree. But here’s the difference: in many cases, a dentist will be able to stop there and begin his or her practice. Orthodontists pursue further training and education to achieve specialization in the movement of the jaw, teeth, and oral structures. In Dr. Chris Murphy’s case, he went even further and earned board-certification from the American Board of Orthodontics, in addition to joining the American Association of Orthodontists. These organizations require orthodontists to meet a strict level of criteria and demonstrate a high level of care in orthodontic procedures.

While a dentist may offer a comprehensive range of general, cosmetic, and restorative treatment options that can include orthodontic procedures, an orthodontist typically keeps his or her practice focused only on procedures designed to address teeth alignment, bite issues, and other orthodontic concerns. Here at Murphy Orthodontics, you will find an array of advanced treatment options that will likely not be available from a general dentist. Plus, our orthodontist’s special skills and extensive experience can ultimately increase the chances of successful outcomes and reduce the risk of complications.

Please take a look at our What to Know Before Choosing Your Orthodontist page to learn more, and feel free to contact our practice with any questions you may have. And remember, you don’t need a referral from a dentist to schedule an appointment for orthodontics at our practice!