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What is the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist?

Orthodontics optionBoth dentists and orthodontists help patients with their oral care but in different ways.

It’s important to understand the difference, particularly if you’re considering teeth straightening to improve your smile or looking to fix issues with your bite.


Dentists are healthcare professionals that provide general dental care to their patients, including treatment of dental decay, gum disease, installation of crowns and veneers, root canal, extraction of teeth, and teeth whitening.

They have undergone five years of training at university to perform a wide spectrum of dental procedures.

Some dentists may have an interest in orthodontics and have undergone some part-time continuing education courses or a part-time diploma in orthodontics.


Orthodontists are dental specialists who diagnose, treat, and prevent problems with the alignment of the teeth and jaw. They help children, teens, and adults achieve straight teeth and an excellent functional bite.

Orthodontists have a five-year degree in dentistry, and then they do a further 5000 hours of additional study (three years full time) in the science of human facial growth. Only 3-4 orthodontists are trained each year at five accredited Australian universities, and only the best dentists are accepted into the training programme.

Orthodontists are experts in providing orthodontic treatments such as braces and aligners.

Book an assessment at Wavescape Orthodontics today. Wavescape is a specialist orthodontics practice in Dee Why on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We offer a comprehensive range of orthodontic services to children, teenagers, and adults.

Dr. Riaan Foot can provide you with the latest orthodontic treatment technology in a fun and relaxed environment, creating beautiful smiles with minimal stress and discomfort.

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