Orthodontist vs. Dentist:

Understanding the Difference at SW3 Dental

At SW3 Dental, we understand that choosing the right dental professional for your oral health needs is crucial. You may have heard the terms “orthodontist” and “dentist” before, but what sets them apart? By understanding the difference, you can make an informed decision and ensure you receive the best possible care for your smile.

The Role of an Orthodontist

Orthodontists are dental specialists who focus on the alignment and occlusion of teeth and jaws. They play a vital role in diagnosing, preventing, and treating dental irregularities to achieve optimal oral health and aesthetics.

Orthodontic Specialisation

Orthodontists undergo additional education and training after completing dental school. This specialised training equips them with the knowledge and skills to diagnose and correct various orthodontic issues, including misaligned teeth, overcrowding, overbites, underbites, and crossbites. They utilize various orthodontic appliances and techniques to align and straighten teeth, creating a balanced and harmonious smile.

Focus on Alignment and Occlusion

Orthodontists focus on achieving proper tooth alignment and occlusion (the way teeth come together when biting). They evaluate the relationship between teeth, jaws, and facial structures to create a functional and aesthetically pleasing smile. Orthodontic treatment can improve not only the appearance of the teeth but also overall oral health and function.

Education and Training

Both orthodontists and dentists undergo extensive education and training to practice in their respective fields. However, there are differences in their educational paths.

Orthodontist Education

Orthodontists complete a dental degree (BDS) and then pursue an additional 3-5 years of specialised training in orthodontics. This specialised training focuses specifically on orthodontic diagnosis, treatment planning, and orthodontic techniques.

Dentist Education

Dentists also complete a dental degree (BDS) after undergraduate studies. Their dental education covers a broad range of oral health topics, including general dentistry, oral surgery, prosthodontics, periodontics, endodontics, and more.

Orthodontists specialise in orthodontic treatment, which includes:

  • Braces: Traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, and clear aligners.
  • Orthodontic appliances: Retainers, expanders, headgear, and more.
  • Bite correction: Addressing issues such as overbites, underbites, crossbites, and open bites.
  • Orthognathic surgery: Collaborating with oral surgeons for corrective jaw surgery.

Why Chelsea trusts us with their SMILE

At SW3 Dental, we recognise the distinct roles of orthodontists and dentists in providing comprehensive dental care. Orthodontists specialise in tooth alignment and occlusion, while dentists focus on general oral health and a wide range of dental services. By understanding their roles, education, and services, you can make an informed decision when seeking professional dental care. Whether you require orthodontic treatment or general dental services, our team of skilled professionals is here to support you on your journey to a healthy and beautiful smile.

“I underwent treatment with Dr Sarah Sadek, who in my opinion is the best in the field.  Choosing the right professional who could handle it properly was utterly crucial. I’m delighted to say Sarah was absolutely fantastic – caring, genuine and considerate throughout the whole process.”

“Dr Sadek was brilliant each time I visited and I cannot fault her. She knew the result I wanted to achieve and knew how to engineer my teeth into the right positions.  The process enjoyable and relaxing each visit.”

“I’m so excited with the results of my treatment. My friends were all waiting to see how it turned out and, now that they’ve seen my results, some are even rushing to sign up for similar treatment with Dr Sarah themselves.

I love the look of my teeth and as cheesy as it may sound, I now smile all the time!”


Dentists can offer some basic orthodontic services, but for specialised orthodontic treatment, it is recommended to consult an orthodontist.


The duration of orthodontic treatment varies depending on the complexity of the case and individual factors. It can range from several months to a few years.

No, orthodontic treatment, including braces, can benefit individuals of all ages. It’s never too late to achieve a straight and healthy smile.

Discomfort or soreness may be experienced initially and during adjustments, but it is usually manageable and temporary.

Insurance coverage for orthodontic treatment varies, and it’s best to check with your insurance provider to understand the specifics of your plan.