Difference Between an Orthodontist and a Dentist (3 Differences) | Louis F. Mascola, DDS
An orthodontist has gone into a graduate program, an accredited graduate program, to be a member of the American Association of Orthodontists. So if you’re looking for an orthodontist, you always want to make sure they belong to what we call the AAO, American Association of Orthodontists.
And what that does--it differentiates us from a general dentist who’s only gone to school basically for general dentistry, which is for fillings, minor extractions, tooth replacement, cleaning of teeth, recognizing some problems. But you have specialties. And especially as I’ve gone back to school. In orthodontics, we’ve gone on to school for an additional two to three years. And we learn about the growth patterns of the skull and also the blood supply and what we can do with teeth and what we can’t do with teeth. And we always have to try to keep them in the bone that is surrounding them. If you try to push that parameter, it’s going to be unstable and you’ll probably have a collapse problem.
And that’s where you have a lot of problems later on in life. So what we try to do is put the teeth in the right position where they should be to prevent problems. But you have to know how to do that, and you have to do it, within a certain parameter that the skull allows. If you’re not familiar with how the skull is going to advance or grow, then you have a problem, especially with children.