Orthodontists and orthodontic specialists both play critical roles in helping individuals achieve straighter smiles, but there are distinctions between the two. Here’s an overview of the differences to help you understand their roles and qualifications:


1. Education: Orthodontists are dental specialists who have completed dental school (typically a 4-year program) and then pursued additional specialized training in orthodontics. This orthodontic training usually involves a 2-3 year residency program.

2. Credentials: Upon completing their education and training, orthodontists receive a Master’s degree or a certificate in orthodontics. This specialized training equips them with the expertise needed to diagnose and treat a wide range of orthodontic issues.

3. Scope of Practice: Orthodontists are qualified to provide comprehensive orthodontic care. They can diagnose and treat various conditions related to misaligned teeth and jaws. Their services often include braces, clear aligners, retainers, and other orthodontic appliances.

4. Ongoing Education: Orthodontists are committed to staying current with the latest advancements in orthodontics through continuing education. This ensures that they offer the most up-to-date and effective treatments to their patients.

Orthodontic Specialist

1. Education: Orthodontic specialists have the same educational background as orthodontists, which includes dental school and specialized orthodontic training. They have completed a residency program in orthodontics.

2. Credentials: Similar to orthodontists, orthodontic specialists receive a Master’s degree or a certificate in orthodontics upon completing their training.

3. Scope of Practice: Orthodontic specialists are also qualified to provide comprehensive orthodontic care, including the diagnosis and treatment of various orthodontic conditions. Their services often mirror those provided by orthodontists.

4. Ongoing Education: Like orthodontists, orthodontic specialists engage in continuing education to stay updated on the latest developments in their field.

Key Takeaway

The primary difference between orthodontists and orthodontic specialists lies in the terminology. Both have completed specialized training in orthodontics and are qualified to provide orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic specialists are essentially orthodontists, but they may choose to use the term “specialist” to emphasize their expertise in the field.

When seeking orthodontic care, it’s essential to look for practitioners who are licensed and qualified to perform orthodontic procedures, whether they use the title “orthodontist” or “orthodontic specialist.” Additionally, consider factors such as experience, patient reviews, and your personal comfort to find the best orthodontic provider. The best orthodontist Yakima has to offer is known for their exceptional care and effective treatments.