What is the Difference between a Dentist and Orthodontist?

Both focus on oral care, but in different ways!


Has a Degree in Dentistry (5 years at university) and a Post-Graduate Specialised Orthodontic Degree (further 3 years at university)

Specialist in facial growth, dental development and occlusion

Specialises in tooth and jaw alignment

Only carries out orthodontic treatment


Has a Degree in Dentistry (5 years at university)

Generalist in dental and oral health

Diagnose and provides range of dental treatment for teeth and gums

Treats various dental problems

What is the difference between what I would see a Dentist and Orthodontist for?


  • Overcrowding of teeth
  • Spacing between teeth
  • Overbites, underbites or open bites
  • Overjet (protrusion of anterior teeth)
  • Crossbites
  • Difficulty in chewing or speaking


  • General check of oral health
  • Concerns about gum diseases
  • Concerns about general oral heath
  • Fillings
  • Crowns/bridges
  • Dentures
Why should I see an Orthodontist and not a Dentist for treatment?

Dentists are not trained at university to fit braces and carry out Orthodontic treatment. To become an Orthodontist, after completing a degree in dentistry, a further 3-5 years of post-graduate study at university is spent in order to gain the necessary knowledge and expertise to carry out Orthodontic treatment.

Some dentists may carry out simple Orthodontic treatment but they will not have the same experience and may not be a trained Specialist in Orthodontics. Specialist orthodontist in UK can only call themselves a specialist if they have been approved by the GDC and the British Orthodontic Society.

Orthodontic specialists are able to make expert decisions on what is best for your smile, and your dental health. Your dentist can refer you or you can self-refer for overcrowded teeth, sticky out teeth, deep bite and unevenly spaced teeth.

You are far more likely to receive successful treatment when being treated by a specialist, which means you're also more likely to finally have the smile that you have always wanted.

While orthodontics is now a common option for most dental practices, finding an orthodontist that can take on the most complex orthodontic cases can often be quite difficult. Ashlow Orthodontics is one of a limited few practices that have the ability to offer this service in Staffordshire.

With vast orthodontic experience, combined with being one of the best orthodontic practices in the UK, means that you are in good hands. We combine safety, precision and most advance technology to get you that smile you always wanted.

When might Dentists and Orthodontists work together?

Dentists and Orthodontists may work together if a patient requires more extensive treatment. For example, if any teeth are congenitally missing and the patient will be having a tooth replacement, the Orthodontist will liaise with the Dentist to ensure they are happy with amount of space to place the artificial tooth before the braces are removed. Dentists may also be asked by the Orthodontist to extract teeth if necessary, for the Orthodontic treatment.

For NHS Orthodontic treatment, your own Dentist would need to send a referral to our practice via REGO vantage system. For private Orthodontic treatment, you can self-refer. Just call the practice or send us an email for further information or to arrange an appointment to get that smile.

  • BDA Good Practice Member
  • American Association of Orthodontists
  • European Orthodontic Society
  • World Federation of Orthodontists
  • British Orthodontic Society
  • Spark Clear Aligner System
  • Invisalign
  • Code Icomply
  • 3M Science Applied to Life
  • Ormco
  • Incognito braces
  • Alias lingual bracket system