Many people think that an orthodontist is just a dentist who puts braces on teeth, but they do much more than that. Orthodontics is a dental speciality that prevents, diagnoses and treats many problems with the face and mouth including malocclusions – bad bites – poorly aligned jaws and crooked teeth.

A dentist may be able to do some of that kind of work, especially if they’ve had a lot of experience and the problem is straightforward. However, the orthodontist has had three more years of training to get the expertise he has, so he is more likely to do a good job on the problem, especially if it is not as straightforward as it looks.

Many dentists can certainly recognise a need for orthodontic procedures to be done, which is why you’ll often be given a referral to an orthodontist by your family dentist. However, you don’t need to have one to make an appointment, unlike with some specialists doctors who won’t see you without a referral from a GP.

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