Frequently Asked Questions: What’s the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist?

Dentists and orthodontists both have a mission to help their patients improve the health of their teeth. While both a dentist and an orthodontist have a your smile’s best interest in mind, each doctor focuses on different things.

It is important to note that all orthodontists, like Dr. Glander and Dr. Rochford, are dentists but not all dentists are orthodontists.

How are orthodontists and dentists similar?

Both a dentist and an orthodontist have special training that focuses on oral healthcare. They are both doctors that want the best for your mouth, teeth, and gums.

How are an orthodontist and dentist different?

Orthodontists attend additional schooling to become experts in the movement of teeth. After attending four years of dental school, they attend another two to three years of training in an orthodontic residency program.  Dr. Glander attended Montefiore and Dr. Rochford attended the University of Colorado to obtain their training in orthodontics. Orthodontists specialize in the movement of teeth, aligning teeth, perfecting an individual’s bite, and creating customized mouth appliances.

Dentists and orthodontists work hand in hand!

Your dentist will see you throughout your entire life to help maintain overall good oral hygiene.  If necessary, they may place crowns, create bridges, fill cavities, treat gum disease, perform tooth whitening treatments, and many other things.  If your dentist notices that your teeth are not fitting together, you have overcrowding, overbite, underbite, or unnecessary spaces between teeth they may refer you to an orthodontist.  You will see your orthodontist throughout the treatment process, which lasts an average of two years (sometimes less and sometimes more). Once treatment is complete, you will only see your orthodontist if you have an issue with your retainer or something related to the treatment.

Do I need a dentist referral?

While there is no harm in receiving a referral from your dentist to come see Glander Rochford Orthodontics, you do not need a referral.  We would be happy to see you and talk to you about your concerns in our complimentary consultation.

You can contact us on our website, by email at, or give us a call at (317) 888-2827.

We proudly serve the Indianapolis and Greenwood, Indiana communities.