Dentist vs Orthodontist for Braces

If you have been considering braces for yourself or your child, then you may be wondering if you can just have your general dentist perform the procedure, or if you will need to see an orthodontist. Perhaps you are wondering what an orthodontist might have to offer you that your dentist does not, or you are unsure of the differences between the two. There are many valid reasons to consult with an orthodontist when contemplating corrective treatment like braces, even though it is not unusual to want to stick with what you know and with what you are comfortable . Although there are many similarities between dentists and orthodontists, they are not interchangeable, and there are some significant differences to take into consideration when making your choice. At Langford Orthodontics, we want you to learn more about these differences and why they matter. Read on!

Education and Training

Both dentists and orthodontists begin their careers by graduating from dental school, but they take different paths from there.  Orthodontists will undergo an additional two to three years of full-time training, similar to a medical doctor completing a residency to get the training they need to learn everything they can about what they will be specializing in. Orthodontic residents concentrate on orthodontia, with a focus on braces, bite problems, and straightening teeth. Only after a dentist has successfully completed this program may they refer to themselves as an orthodontist.

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Can My General Dentist Straighten My Teeth?

Yes, they can. There are some dentists who are able to provide some orthodontic care to their patients. Some dentists have committed to taking continuing education seminars and acquiring more experience in the subject of moving teeth. This additional training can occur online or through seminars they attend over several weeks.  These workshops and seminars equip the general dentist with the knowledge and training to treat some of their patients who desire their teeth to be straight. Most general dentists use this increased knowledge base to be able to better educate their patients about the need for orthodontic treatment and will refer to an orthodontist when the treatment is beyond what they have been able to learn.  This creates a great team of professionals looking out for the very best treatment for your teeth!

So Who Should Do MY Orthodontic Treatment?


As you consider treatment for yourself or your children, there are many things to consider. In most cases, it is best to talk to a specialist in orthodontics prior to beginning treatment so you can be confident that you have been able to consider all your options.  In most cases, your orthodontist will be able to provide you with:

  • More efficient treatments and visits, since orthodontics are the only area of care they focus on.
  • The best possible treatment plan and outcome, especially if you have a more complicated or severe case – as they have experience with many different modalities to treat a case.
  • More treatment options, with a wide variety of braces and therapies to choose from.
  • More experience treating multiple cases that share your physical characteristics and have similarities to your own case.

Orthodontists like Dr. Langford devote a great deal of time and energy to perfecting orthodontic care and treatment because it is their only specialty! He performs teeth straightening procedures daily, keeps up to date on the latest in industry practice, purchases the latest equipment, and takes as many continuing education courses as he can throughout the year. Dr. Langford and his experienced team at Langford Orthodontics are well versed in creating the best individualized treatment method for each patient.

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Dentist or Orthodontist

In order to avoid any complications, orthodontists put a lot of emphasis on choosing optimal treatment approaches. Orthodontists are able to recommend plans that can save you time and money, as well as reduce the chances of any complications developing because they have the training to notice the small things that could be overlooked. By seeking treatment from someone with more knowledge, experience, and specialized education, you can feel confident in your investment of time and money. Langford Orthodontics has everything you need for an optimal— and safe—  orthodontic experience.

Dr. Langford’s sole specialty is orthodontics, it means he has the experience needed to give you the best quality, cost, and efficiency in treatment. If you are in the Knoxville or Seymour area, stop by one of our two convenient locations or call us today! After a FREE initial evaluation, Dr. Langford and our expert team will be able to determine if orthodontics will benefit you. If it looks like treatment is needed, we will outline a personalized treatment plan for you. We are happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you might have in order to make an informed decision. Our team is here to see you through your treatment from start to finish and beyond!

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