What Is An Orthodontist? What Do They Do?

Welcome to Scaffidi Orthodontics, your trusted partner in achieving a healthy, confident smile. At Scaffidi Orthodontics, we understand that choosing an orthodontist is an important decision for you and your family. In this article, we’ll explore the world of orthodontics, answering the fundamental questions: “What is an orthodontist?” and “What do they do?”

Orthodontics is a specialized field of dentistry dedicated to enhancing the alignment and positioning of your teeth and jaws. Unlike general dentists, orthodontists undergo additional years of training and education to become experts in diagnosing and treating bite irregularities, misaligned teeth, and related issues.

At Scaffidi Orthodontics, our mission is to provide you with the highest standard of orthodontic care. We pride ourselves on our patient-centered approach, advanced technology, and a team of experienced orthodontists who are committed to delivering exceptional results.

Let’s dive into the world of orthodontics and discover how orthodontists play a crucial role in your oral health and the aesthetics of your smile. Whether you’re considering orthodontic treatment for yourself or a family member, understanding the role of an orthodontist is the first step towards achieving a healthier, more confident smile.

Defining Orthodontics

Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that focuses on diagnosing, preventing, and correcting dental and facial irregularities. These irregularities can include misaligned teeth, improper bite alignment, and issues with jaw development. Orthodontists are highly trained professionals who specialize in addressing these concerns to enhance both the function and aesthetics of your smile.

One of the primary goals of orthodontic treatment is to achieve proper occlusion, which refers to the alignment of your upper and lower teeth when they come together. A healthy occlusion ensures that you can bite, chew, and speak comfortably while minimizing stress on your jaw joints. Additionally, well-aligned teeth are easier to clean, reducing the risk of oral health problems like cavities and gum disease.

Orthodontists use a variety of tools and techniques to correct dental irregularities, with braces being one of the most well-known orthodontic treatments. However, modern orthodontics offers a range of options beyond traditional metal braces, including clear aligners, lingual braces, and ceramic braces. These options provide patients with greater choice and flexibility when it comes to achieving a straighter smile.

Beyond aesthetics, orthodontic treatment can significantly impact your overall health and well-being. Properly aligned teeth and jaws can alleviate issues such as headaches, jaw pain, and speech difficulties. It can also boost your self-confidence, as a beautiful smile often leads to increased self-esteem and social comfort.

At Scaffidi Orthodontics, we’re passionate about transforming smiles and improving lives. Our team of skilled orthodontists is dedicated to providing personalized treatment plans that cater to your unique needs and goals. Whether you’re seeking orthodontic care for yourself or your child, you can trust our expertise and commitment to delivering outstanding results.

In the following sections, we’ll delve deeper into what orthodontists do, the conditions they treat, and how orthodontic treatment can benefit you and your family.

Who Is An Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has undergone additional education and training beyond dental school to become an expert in the field of orthodontics. While both dentists and orthodontists focus on oral health, their roles and areas of expertise differ.

Orthodontists are dedicated to the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. These professionals possess a deep understanding of the mechanics of tooth movement, jaw alignment, and bite correction. Their primary objective is to help patients achieve properly aligned teeth and a harmonious bite.

To become an orthodontist, one must complete the following steps:

  • Undergraduate Education: Like all dentists, orthodontists start with a bachelor’s degree. This typically takes four years to complete.
  • Dental School: After earning a bachelor’s degree, aspiring orthodontists attend dental school, which generally lasts four years. Here, they acquire a solid foundation in general dentistry.
  • Residency in Orthodontics: Following dental school, orthodontists undertake a rigorous orthodontic residency program, which usually spans two to three years. During this specialized training, they gain in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience in orthodontics.
  • Board Certification: Some orthodontists choose to pursue board certification through the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO). Achieving board certification is a voluntary process that demonstrates a commitment to excellence in orthodontics.

Orthodontists are experts in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of various orthodontic issues, including:

  • Malocclusions: These refer to problems with bite alignment, such as overbites, underbites, crossbites, and open bites.
  • Misaligned Teeth: Orthodontists correct crooked teeth, gaps, and overcrowding.
  • Jaw Irregularities: They address issues related to the alignment of the jaw, including problems with jaw size and position.
  • Orthodontic Appliances: Orthodontists design and prescribe a variety of appliances, such as braces and clear aligners, to correct dental and jaw irregularities.

Orthodontic treatment provided by a trained specialist can have a profound impact on oral health, overall well-being, and self-esteem. At Scaffidi Orthodontics, our experienced orthodontists are dedicated to delivering personalized care, ensuring that each patient achieves a healthy, beautiful smile.

Orthodontist vs. Dentist

Orthodontists and dentists are both essential healthcare professionals who focus on oral health, but their roles and areas of expertise differ significantly. Understanding the distinctions between these two professions is crucial for anyone seeking dental or orthodontic care.


General Oral Health

Dentists are primary oral healthcare providers. They specialize in diagnosing and treating a wide range of dental issues, including cavities, gum disease, tooth decay, and oral infections.

Preventive Care

Dentists emphasize preventive care and education to help patients maintain good oral health. They perform routine cleanings, checkups, and dental procedures like fillings and extractions.

Basic Orthodontic Knowledge

Dentists have a basic understanding of orthodontics but may refer patients to orthodontists for specialized treatment when necessary.


Specialists in Orthodontics

Orthodontists are dental specialists who undergo additional education and training to become experts in orthodontics. Their primary focus is diagnosing and correcting dental and facial irregularities, particularly issues related to the alignment of teeth and jaws.

Orthodontic Treatments

Orthodontists provide a wide range of orthodontic treatments, including traditional braces, clear aligners, retainers, and other specialized appliances. They are skilled in planning and overseeing the entire orthodontic treatment process.

Bite Correction

Orthodontists are specialists in addressing bite irregularities, such as overbites, underbites, crossbites, and open bites. They work to achieve proper alignment and harmony between the teeth and jaws.

Advanced Training

To become an orthodontist, one must complete dental school followed by a two to three-year orthodontic residency program. This specialized training equips orthodontists with in-depth knowledge and expertise in their field.

In summary, while both dentists and orthodontists play vital roles in oral healthcare, orthodontists are the experts in diagnosing and treating orthodontic issues. If you’re dealing with misaligned teeth, bite problems, or other complex orthodontic concerns, it’s advisable to consult with a qualified orthodontist. At Scaffidi Orthodontics, our team of experienced orthodontists is dedicated to providing specialized care tailored to your unique needs.

Orthodontic Treatment Process

Orthodontic treatment is a carefully structured process aimed at achieving proper dental alignment and bite function. At Scaffidi Orthodontics, we follow a comprehensive treatment process to ensure the best results for our patients. Here’s an overview of what you can expect during your orthodontic journey:

Initial Consultation

Your orthodontic journey begins with an initial consultation. During this visit, you’ll meet with one of our experienced orthodontists who will assess your oral health, discuss your concerns and treatment goals, and answer any questions you may have. This consultation is an essential step in understanding your unique needs.

Diagnosis and Treatment Planning

After a thorough examination, including X-rays and digital imaging, your orthodontist will provide a detailed diagnosis of your orthodontic issues. They will then create a customized treatment plan that outlines the recommended course of action. This plan considers the type of orthodontic appliance needed, treatment duration, and expected outcomes.

Appliance Placement

Depending on your treatment plan, you may receive traditional braces, clear aligners (like Invisalign), or other specialized appliances. Your orthodontist will explain how to care for your chosen appliance and provide instructions for proper use.

Regular Appointments

Throughout your treatment, you’ll have regular appointments with your orthodontist. These visits are essential for making adjustments to your braces or aligners to ensure teeth are moving as planned. Your orthodontist will also monitor your progress and address any concerns you may have.

Oral Hygiene and Care

Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial during orthodontic treatment. Your orthodontist will provide guidance on cleaning your braces or aligners and offer tips to prevent common issues like cavities and gum inflammation.

Retainers and Post-Treatment

Once your teeth have achieved the desired alignment, you’ll enter the retention phase of treatment. Your orthodontist will provide you with retainers to wear as directed. Retainers help stabilize your newly aligned teeth and prevent them from shifting back to their original positions.

Treatment Completion

When your orthodontist determines that your treatment goals have been achieved, you’ll celebrate the completion of your orthodontic journey. Your braces or aligners will be removed, and you’ll get to enjoy your beautifully aligned smile.

Follow-Up Care

Even after your active treatment is complete, it’s important to continue regular follow-up appointments with your orthodontist. This ensures that your smile remains stable and aligned over the long term.

Enjoy Your New Smile

The final step of your orthodontic journey is enjoying the benefits of your beautifully aligned smile. Not only will your appearance be enhanced, but you’ll also experience improved oral health and function.

At Scaffidi Orthodontics, we take pride in providing comprehensive and patient-centered orthodontic care. Our team of experienced orthodontists and support staff is here to guide you through every step of the treatment process, ensuring your comfort and satisfaction. We look forward to helping you achieve a healthier, more confident smile.

The Role of Technology

In the ever-evolving field of orthodontics, technology plays a pivotal role in enhancing treatment outcomes and patient experiences. At Scaffidi Orthodontics, we are committed to staying at the forefront of technological advancements to provide our patients with the best possible care. Here’s how technology is transforming orthodontic treatment:

Digital Impressions

Gone are the days of uncomfortable, messy impressions. We utilize state-of-the-art digital scanners to create highly accurate 3D models of your teeth. This technology not only eliminates the need for messy molds but also provides more precise treatment planning.

Treatment Simulation

Wondering what your smile will look like after orthodontic treatment? With advanced software, we can simulate the expected outcome of your treatment. This gives you a sneak peek at your future smile, motivating and reassuring you throughout your journey.

3D Printing

Customization is key in orthodontic treatment. 3D printing allows us to create precisely tailored appliances, such as aligners and retainers. These appliances fit comfortably and work efficiently to straighten your teeth.

Digital X-Rays

Digital X-rays reduce radiation exposure and provide instant images for diagnosis. They are an integral part of treatment planning, enabling us to visualize tooth and jaw alignment accurately.

Accelerated Orthodontics

For those seeking faster results, we offer accelerated orthodontic options. These techniques, such as AcceleDent®, use innovative technology to speed up tooth movement, reducing treatment time.

Remote Monitoring

In some cases, we can monitor your progress remotely using teleorthodontics. You can share images and updates with us from the convenience of your home, reducing the need for frequent in-person appointments.

Patient Portals

Our secure online patient portal makes communication and appointment scheduling a breeze. You can access treatment information, progress reports, and appointment details conveniently from your computer or mobile device.


As a Premier Invisalign Provider, we leverage this cutting-edge technology to offer clear aligners as an alternative to traditional braces. Invisalign aligners are nearly invisible, removable, and highly effective in achieving a straighter smile.

Treatment Tracking Apps

Many patients find motivation in tracking their progress. We provide access to apps and software that allow you to monitor your treatment milestones and stay engaged throughout your orthodontic journey.

By embracing these technological advancements, Scaffidi Orthodontics ensures that our patients receive the most efficient, effective, and comfortable orthodontic care possible. We understand that technology not only improves treatment outcomes but also enhances the overall patient experience, making your orthodontic journey smoother and more rewarding.

Patient-Centered Care

At Scaffidi Orthodontics, our commitment to patient-centered care sets us apart. We understand that every patient is unique, and their orthodontic journey should reflect that individuality. Here’s how we put patients at the center of everything we do:

Personalized Treatment Plans

No two smiles are alike, and neither are our treatment plans. We take the time to thoroughly assess your needs and goals, tailoring a treatment plan that suits you perfectly. Whether you’re a teenager, an adult, or a child, our orthodontic solutions are designed with your specific requirements in mind.

Clear Communication

We believe that informed patients make the best decisions about their care. We take the time to explain treatment options, expected outcomes, and potential challenges in plain, understandable language. You’ll always know what to expect at each stage of your orthodontic journey.

Comfort and Convenience

Your comfort is our priority. From our modern, inviting office environment to the latest in pain-minimizing techniques, we ensure that your orthodontic experience is as comfortable as possible. We also offer flexible scheduling to accommodate your busy life.

Engagement and Education

We empower our patients with knowledge. Through educational materials, videos, and interactive tools, you’ll understand the importance of your treatment and how to maintain oral health during and after your orthodontic journey.

Supportive Team

Our team is here to support you at every step. We’re not just orthodontic experts; we’re your partners in achieving a healthier, more confident smile. Feel free to ask questions or voice concerns – we’re here to listen and provide guidance.

Patient Feedback

We value your feedback. Your experiences and insights help us continually improve our services. We encourage open communication and welcome your suggestions to enhance our patient-centered approach.

Community Involvement

We’re not just a part of the orthodontic community; we’re a part of your local community too. Scaffidi Orthodontics is actively involved in community events and initiatives, promoting oral health and education.

Our patient-centered approach isn’t just a slogan – it’s a commitment we live by every day. We understand that choosing orthodontic treatment is a significant decision, and we’re dedicated to making it a positive and rewarding experience. Your smile is our success, and we’re honored to be a part of your orthodontic journey.


In this article, we’ve explored the world of orthodontics and the crucial role that orthodontists play in enhancing the health and aesthetics of your smile. An orthodontist isn’t just a dental professional; they’re a smile architect, working diligently to transform misaligned teeth into a harmonious, confident grin.

At Scaffidi Orthodontics, we’re more than just orthodontists. We’re your partners in achieving the smile you’ve always dreamed of. We’ve delved into the world of orthodontics, shedding light on what orthodontists do and the impact they have on your oral health and quality of life.

From diagnosing and treating various dental issues to offering an array of orthodontic solutions, we’re here to provide you with personalized care that goes beyond traditional dentistry. Our commitment to patient-centered care, state-of-the-art technology, and experienced orthodontists ensures that your orthodontic journey is comfortable, effective, and rewarding.

Whether you’re considering braces, Invisalign, or other orthodontic treatments, you can trust Scaffidi Orthodontics to deliver exceptional care tailored to your unique needs. We’re not just creating beautiful smiles; we’re creating confident individuals who can’t help but show off their newfound radiance.

If you’re ready to embark on a journey to a healthier, straighter smile, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Scaffidi Orthodontics is here to guide you every step of the way, from your initial consultation to the moment you reveal your transformed smile to the world.

Contact us today to schedule your appointment and discover how we can make your orthodontic dreams a reality. Your smile is our passion, and we can’t wait to be a part of your journey to a more confident, healthier you.