What’s The Difference Between Dentists and Orthodontists? Part 3 (Who Can Call Themselves a Dentist)

Often I get asked “what’s the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist” and i also thought that if people are confused by both the conditions, it might be useful to write some articles to clarify things. This kind of is the 3rd in a series, and will outline the legal details, particularly in britain and Ireland in europe, in using the term “dentist”. http://www.hyvenetwork.com/the-differences-between-a-dentist-and-orthodontist/

In my first article, I explained the overall variations and similarities involving the two – namely that most orthodontists are basically dentist that deal in a particular part of the field of dentistry. In my second article, I outlined what the various areas of dentistry are, and the particular areas of interest that the orthodontist would operate in. This article is a little more about the main points of the difference as regards legislation, starting with what the term “dentist” means in law. 

Within just an earlier article, We mentioned that in older days, a lot of dentistry and surgery in general, was completed by barbers. Nowadays, not everyone is able to officially carry out dentistry (or “practise” dentistry, as there was call it) – there are laws in many countries that will limit the practice of the field of dentistry to people who are registered dentists.

To become a signed up dentist in a specific country, you would have to fulfill the appropriate company that regulates dentistry for that country (or in a particular part of that country, such just as the USA). These body are usually set up by national laws, which routinely have names like “The Registration of Dental surgeons Act”.

In the united kingdom, the practice of dentistry is governed by the typical Dental Authorities – they might be known to as “the proficient body” in legal conditions. In Ireland, this would be governed by The Dental Council in a similar fashion. These types of organisations keep many of registers relating to place to place of dental treatment. The main one, which would be called the Dental Register, or the General Register, is the listing of the people that are allowed to practice dentistry in that particular country.

Not only are these the sole people entitled to practise dental treatment, they are the only people in order to use the term “dentist” or “dental surgeon” in conjunction with their work. (There may be exceptions for armed service personnel acting under martial law, and medically trained doctors under certain circumstances, but I’m talking generally here! )

To be allowed to land on the register, you have to fulfill the appropriate Dental Council that you are suitably qualified and skilled to be carrying out dentistry. For most dentist, this starts with graduation from a recognised dental care school within an university or college in the UK or Ireland – the oral councils review these dental care schools on a regular basis and would automatically consider graduates to be eligible for be listed on the dental save.

If you qualified in a dental school in a different country, then you will have to provide appropriate proof of diploma, and the dental authorities would have to be satisfied that the oral school in question provided suitable education and placed tough enough exams to consider it appropriate to allow you on their register. In some instances, you might have to do a special exam to fulfill the dental council on their own of the exams you passed at dental institution.

To remain on the register, each year the individual must meet their dental authorities that they have complied with the laws regulating dentistry in that country. For most dentists this will generally involve:

paying a subscription for their teeth council
not having serious complaints made against them that were found to be true
proving that they continue to learn and update their knowledge of dentistry (this is mandatory in the UK, and is probably necessary in Ireland when new dental legislation is passed)
Just to be clear about this, it’s the introduction of a person’s name on the register, not the dental degree from the university, which entitles someone to call themselves a dentist and start taking care of teeth, although usually most dentists don’t get on the register without a suitable dental level. In the next article, Let me clarify how the law treats the use of the term “orthodontist”.