Both dentists and orthodontists are doctors who provide oral health care for children and adults, but they do so in different ways. Dentists focus primarily on tooth, gum and jaw health.
Pediatric dentists complete an extra 2-3 years of specialty training after finishing dental school just to learn about the unique oral health needs of children, including those with special needs. You take your child to a pediatrician, you should take your child to a pediatric dentist.
Orthodontists are dentists with two years of additional schooling. They specialize in straightening teeth and improving bites by using devices that correct crooked or overcrowded teeth, under bites, over bites, spaces between teeth, and jaw problems. They have achieved board certification through the American Board of Orthodontics, the only orthodontic specialty board recognized by the American Dental Association.