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There are dentists out there who offer orthodontic services. Does that make them orthodontists? When do you need an orthodontist? What is the difference between dentists and orthodontists? Dentists and orthodontists both work on teeth, so it can be confusing when you need one or the other. Dr. Fergus is a licensed, certified orthodontist who knows how confusing it can be for patients, especially when dentists offer orthodontic services. 

Fergus Orthodontics offers treatment with braces, Invisalign, and other orthodontic services. Though Dr. Fergus trained as a dentist, she took steps further to become an orthodontist and learn specialized techniques only trained orthodontists are taught. Regarding straightening your smile, Fergus Orthodontics can show you why an orthodontist is the way to go.

What Is a Dentist?

A dentist is a professional who has trained and graduated from dental school or a dental program. They not only have studied teeth and human anatomy but also must have some residency training, meaning they work alongside dentists to learn the practice. Let’s take Dr. Fergus as an example. She completed dental school and earned her master’s of dental science degree. 

Once a dentist has completed dental school, they are ready to practice general dentistry. They can clean teeth, fill cavities, provide fluoride treatments, and even install dental implants or crowns. Those who want to stay in dentistry often stop their schooling and start practicing dentistry. Dr. Fergus wanted to go further. She wanted to work in the specialized field of orthodontics. 

What Is an Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dentist who has chosen to train in a specialized field. The orthodontist completes dental school, but then they move on to a special certification program in orthodontics. These programs train them specifically to move teeth and create new smiles and better bites

Put another way, a doctor can begin by training in general practice, but some doctors move on to specific practices, like pediatrics. They train specifically in treating children patients instead of everyone. An orthodontist is similar to a pediatrician in this way. 

Dr. Fergus completed her degree in dental science, but then she moved on to receive her Certification in Advanced Orthodontic Education. She continued her education and training and became a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics. Only about 20% of practicing orthodontics hold this distinction. Board-certified orthodontists must undergo a written and clinical test to be certified and renew that certification every ten years. 

What is the American Board of Orthodontics? 

The American Board of Orthodontics is the global leader in board certification for orthodontics and sets the standards of care and excellence in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. Their goal is to elevate the quality of care through certification, education, and professional collaboration. It’s the only orthodontic specialty board recognized by the American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthodontists. 

When Should I See a Dentist vs. an Orthodontist?

So when should you see a dentist vs. an orthodontist? Dentists provide care to teeth and oral health overall. You should see a dentist at least twice yearly for annual cleanings and examinations. Your dentist will be able to spot issues like tooth decay and gum disease and will be able to treat them. A dentist can also install crowns, partials, dental implants, and even dentures. Your dentist can also perform root canals and combat tooth decay with fluoride and other treatments. 

If you need to move your teeth, see an orthodontist. That’s because an orthodontist is trained in the precise science of moving teeth. An orthodontist knows that moving teeth is a delicate task and that doing it wrong can damage the teeth and jaws, sometimes permanently. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you see an orthodontist for treatment with braces or clear aligners

Braces in Jonesboro, AR

Dr. Fergus isn’t the only one trained in orthodontics. The entire team of Fergus Orthodontics is dedicated to giving patients in the Jonesboro, AR, area the best orthodontic care. We know your smile’s importance to your self-confidence and that it’s your best first impression. It’s our job to make sure your teeth are moved correctly so that you achieve the smile of your dreams. We are trained in treatment with braces or clear aligners, and we can show you how our treatment will transform your smile. 

If you’re ready to see a board-certified orthodontist about improving your smile, schedule an appointment with Fergus Orthodontics in Jonesboro, AR. Let us show you what an orthodontist can do for you. 

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