What Are Dental Orthodontics?

dental orthodontics

Many people confuse a dentist with an orthodontist. After all, they both are poking around in your mouth, right? Well, there are many differences between the two and they both specialize in different aspects of oral health! Today, this guide is going to explain everything you need to know about Dental Orthodontics.

What is Dental Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a form of dentistry that revolves around diagnosing, treating, or preventing misaligned teeth or mouth bone structure. Orthodontic treatment works by utilizing appliances, such as braces or aligners, that move your teeth. They can also retrain your muscles to hold a different position, or adjust the bones in your jaw.

At Orthodontics Limited, an orthodontics practice in Philadelphia, you can be assured that you are receiving the best possible oral care and treatment for your teeth. Their specialists are extensively trained and qualified to use Invisalign braces, or traditional braces- anything that you require.

In, short orthodontics refers to the special treatment you receive when you have misaligned teeth or other oral issues that require moving bones.

Dentist or Orthodontist?

Dentists and orthodontists are both professionals dedicated to helping their patients with their oral health. However, the two are different.

Dentists cover a broader area of care- they can work with nerves, teeth, gums, or your jaw. On the other hand, an orthodontist is a specialist who will mainly work with correcting the alignment of your teeth. An orthodontist, because of this, is much more likely to be attaching something like braces inside of your mouth.

Here is a more detailed explanation for each:


Dentists will treat the majority of your dental issues. The AAO (American Association of Orthodontics) states that a dentist will treat your overall oral health- so expect to visit one before you see an orthodontist.

You will see a dentist during regular check-ups or appointments, they have no problem fixing cavities, gum disease, or any other oral hygiene issue. Dentists can also extract teeth or provide other forms of oral surgery.

Dentists can apply caps or crowns to damaged or decaying teeth, saving their functionality and appearance. Finally, a dentist will check your mouth for underlying oral diseases and provide the steps you can take to improve the health of your teeth. A dentist can refer you to a specialist, such as an orthodontist, when they run into an issue that they can not treat.


Now, what does an orthodontist do? The AAO has stated that orthodontists specialize in moving patient’s teeth and adjusting bones in the jaws. They offer methods of treatment that correct gaps, crowding, over or underbites, teeth that stick out, or teeth that are misaligned in other ways.

A dentist will send you to a specialist orthodontist when they realize that you need treatment involving moving teeth around inside your mouth. They have more tools available than a dentist that can move teeth back into their proper alignment.

These tools include traditional braces, Invisalign braces, aligners, or expanders, among others. Every dental issue is unique to the patient’s mouth, so they will provide a treatment that is unique to every person. An orthodontist will use X-rays, photographs, or molds of teeth to create a personalized treatment plan with individualized adjuster tools.

Why Would I Need to See an Orthodontist?

If you have something like a toothache or suspect a cavity, you will want to set up an appointment with your dentist. But how do you know when you need to see an orthodontist for a specialized treatment?

A dentist may give you a referral to one, but you can choose to see one anytime you like- or feel that you need to. The most common reason why you need to see an orthodontist is that you feel your teeth are misaligned or you do not have a quality bite.

Sometimes the issue can be obvious, but other times, needing treatment can be harder to detect. Consider seeing an orthodontist if you struggle with mouth breathing, grinding your teeth, clenching your teeth, or can not comfortably close your mouth. An orthodontist can give you insight if treatment is necessary to correct the issue.

Facial imbalance, or asymmetry, can also be fixed if an orthodontist adjusts your teeth and jaw. You will want to contact a specialist if you have any of those problems. Not only can they make you more comfortable, but they can also make you much more confident in your smile.

What About my Child?

The AAO recommends that your child have their first orthodontic examination by the age of 7. This is vital for a few different reasons.

First, this is when teeth enter a critical developmental stage in children. It takes a specialist to detect any small problems, as they are difficult to notice at this age. Also, at this time, a specialist can determine if the child’s mouth has enough room for their adult teeth as they grow older.

It is much easier to treat any dental problems that arise at this young age- the mouth and teeth can be adjusted much easier and major problems popping up can be avoided. If your child needs to get an expander, there is a limited amount of time where it can be effectively used as a treatment.

However, do not let that discourage you from getting your treatment. Orthodontics for adults can be adjusted to match your needs. With clear aligners growing in popularity, no one even has to know that you are wearing braces.


To summarize, Dental Orthodontics is a specialized form of dentistry that revolves around diagnosing, treating, or preventing misaligned teeth or mouth bone structure. The main difference between a dentist and orthodontist is that orthodontists utilize adjustment tools in patient’s mouths.

If you feel embarrassed by your smile, or notice alignment issues causing other problems, stop by the practice Orthodontics Limited and schedule an appointment- they provide the best treatment and have a team made of the best orthodontists in Philadelphia.