What’s the Difference Between an Orthodontist and a Dentist?

Orthodontists and dentists do share some similarities, although they are different professions. They both help patients achieve beautiful and healthy smiles but do this differently. Dentists cover a wide range of oral health issues like cavities, gum disease or missing teeth, while orthodontists focus solely on tooth and jaw alignment. Orthodontists are dentists who continued their training in an accredited university for an additional three years and specialize in orthodontics. They are qualified to provide treatment options that can help straighten a patient’s teeth. Often, dentists and orthodontists work together to provide patients with the best possible results when it comes to the appearance and health of their teeth.

There are a few key differences between orthodontists and dentists and the following information will clarify these aspects:


Dentists must complete a general dental degree and are in charge of your overall dental health. They can provide a number of different services, including dental cleanings and tooth repair but do not deal with braces or aligners. If a patient needs orthodontic treatment, their dentist will refer them to an orthodontist.

Dentistry is more of a broad medical specialty that deals with the teeth, gums, nerves and jaw. Dentists encourage good oral hygiene and provide services that can help with tooth decay, root canals, gum disease, crowns, bridges, veneers and teeth whitening.


Orthodontists must complete a dental degree followed by a three year specialist degree. They are experts in facial growth and dental development and are specialists in tooth and jaw alignment. They can provide a number of different treatments, including retainers, clear aligners and traditional braces. They will help you pick the option that is most suitable for you by providing their professional opinion.

Orthodontics is a specialty branch within dentistry that focuses on the straightening of teeth and the correction of bites and occlusions. They specialize in the alignment of teeth and provide services that can help with crowded teeth, overbites, underbites and, of course, misaligned teeth. Most people who require orthodontic services have crooked teeth but orthodontists can do more than just help with this and can assist with overcrowded teeth, crossbite and spaces between teeth. They can also help with the treatment of temporomandibular disorders and any additional problems with the patient’s jaw.

Both orthodontists and dentists help patients improve their oral health. While they focus on different aspects, the goal is to keep your teeth healthy. All orthodontists are dentists; however, not all dentists are licensed orthodontists, so make sure you clarify this information before asking a general dentist to complete orthodontic work.

Vancity Dental in BC can help with all of your dental needs. Whether you are interested in Invisalign or want teeth whitening, our dental office can help, so if you are in the Vancouver area and are looking for a reputable dentist, give our office a call today!

Help! My Gums Hurt When I Floss!

Flossing is an important part of any teeth cleaning routine; it gets at the more stubborn residue or substances that brushing can’t get to and keeps your gums healthy. Naturally, flossing can leave you some discomfort and there’s even some bleeding to be expected (especially if you haven’t flossed in a while), but if the pain starts to become unbearable, then there are some things you can do to help.

Gentleness is Key

Over-aggressive flossing is one of the key reasons for gum bleeding and soreness; your gums are a sensitive part of your mouth, so being too rough with them naturally leads to consequences. Take it slow, be patient, and be consistent. If you do, you’ll be able to “train” and condition your gums and lessen the occurrences of bleeding and pain over time.

Different Tools

There are a variety of alternative tools for flossing that can also help reduce pain and bleeding. One is a water floss machine, more commonly known as a water pick. This works by basically shooting water in between your teeth and parts of your mouth to help dislodge food and plaque; it’s a common tool of dentists and come with a variety of different attachments to help you get at those harder to see and reach areas.

Non-abrasive floss is another alternative. These floss types are coated in a soft and gentle material that lessens gum irritation and can help ease your gums into better oral hygiene habits.

Interdental brushes act like tiny toothbrushes between your teeth and are easier to use than traditional floss while being just as effective; they’re one of the best options if you have braces.

Soft-picks are another good choice; a combination of an interdental brush and a dental pick, they’re disposable plastic picks with rubber bristles and soft tips that do minimal damage to gum tissue. They can help mitigate a majority of the bleeding and pain associated with flossing.

Located in downtown Vancouver, Vancity Dental is dedicated to making you look forward to dental visits. With two experienced dentists, highly qualified dental staff, and a modern, well-equipped clinic, we’re focused on providing you a personal and friendly experience. We offer a variety of dental services from teeth whitening to Invisalign teeth straightening techniques; we even offer cosmetic and Botox services! Our affordable services and painless dentistry will leave you feeling great while preventing a dent to your wallet. Book an appointment now at vancity.dental or call 604-687-1137 to give yourself that smile you’ve always dreamed of.

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