Dentist, Orthodontist… What’s the difference?
Even though most of us only see our dentists for regular cleanings, we put a great amount of trust in our dental professionals (and rightfully so!) Both dentists and orthodontists are licensed and certified oral health care professionals, educated in the treatment of the health of your teeth and gums. However, something that many people do not know is that all orthodontists must be dentists first, but not all dentists are orthodontists.


All dentists are educated in the management of tooth decay and gum disease and how to perform fillings, veneers, crowns, root canals, tooth whitening as well as gum and tooth supporting bone care; orthodontists focus on aligning teeth and jaws, or “bad bites,” by using braces, clear tooth aligners (like Invisalign), retainers, and jaw orthopedic braces (like expanders). Only a dentist with additional orthodontic specialty education can be licensed to practice orthodontics and call themselves an “orthodontist”.


What does this mean? In the same way that a physician pursues further education to become a specialist–say a cardiologist, orthodontists require additional education and extensive training 2-3 years beyond dental school to be a specialist in their field. This makes orthodontists like Drs. Graber and Dr. Gyllenhaal masters in diagnosis and treatment of tooth and bite problems and specifically, the biomechanics of tooth movement. Would you want your family physician doing heart surgery? Probably not… You would want someone who regularly performs this procedure with the best and most current treatment protocols. Moving teeth is complex, thus great care must be given to assure that they move in a healthy way and that the movement does not cause damage to tooth roots, jaws, gums, or the supporting bone. Only an orthodontist has the training to fully understand the complexity of tooth movement.


What makes Graber Orthodontics different? We are a family practice with over 70 years of orthodontic experience in the community. We utilize the latest in three dimensional imaging for an accurate diagnosis and development of a custom orthodontic treatment plan. Our doctors, Drs. Graber and Dr. Gyllenhaal, are active in the local, national and international orthodontic community as educators, authors, and are dental community leaders. “Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics”—it is what we have trained for, where we have developed our experience, and as licensed dental specialists, is all we do. Our team of orthodontic specialist/doctors and uniquely trained orthodontic assistants are dedicated to providing the best care for our patients and helping them on their journeys to create healthy, beautiful smiles!