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Orthodontists: What Do They Do?

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Last Reviewed 10 May 2024

Medically reviewed by Dr. Paul O'Connell, Bachelor Dent. Sc. (Trinity College Dublin) 2004, Practice Limited to Orthodontics

Table of Contents

Dr. Paul O'Connell Explains Orthodontic Consultations At 3Dental
Dr. Paul O'Connell Explains Orthodontic Consultations At 3Dental Orthodontics
Dr. Paul O'Connell Explains Orthodontic Consultations At 3Dental
Dr. Paul O'Connell Explains Orthodontic Consultations At 3Dental Orthodontics

Did you know, around 33% of children need orthodontic treatment at some point? But what exactly does an orthodontist do, and why is their job so important for our smiles, self-esteem, and overall health?

This article provides a comprehensive overview of orthodontists, detailing their roles, the treatments they offer, and the benefits of orthodontic care.

What Is An Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a fully qualified dentist who chooses to enter into a three-year postgraduate programme that allows them to specialise in orthodontics treatment. Orthodontists diagnose and treat alignment issues in the teeth and jaws, fixing bite function and straightening teeth.

A specialist orthodontic practice will identify problems and develop a treatment plan to enhance your overall dental health, giving you a beautiful smile.

Here’s A Closer Look At What Orthodontists Do:

Dr.Sandra Montano - Orthodontist - 3Dental

Dr.Sandra Montano - Orthodontist - 3Dental

  • Diagnosis and treatment planning: Orthodontists use various diagnostic tools such as X-rays, photographs, and digital scans of your mouth to create detailed treatment plans. They assess your dental and facial structure to determine the best action for optimal alignment and bite for you.
  • Application of orthodontic devices: They apply braces, clear braces and aligners and other devices designed to move your teeth or hold them in place. This part of the job requires precision and a deep understanding of how different forces affect tooth movement and jaw development.
  • Monitoring progress: Throughout your treatment, orthodontists monitor the progress of your teeth movement and make adjustments to your orthodontic devices as needed. This helps ensure your treatment goals are met within the expected timeframe.
  • Patient education: Orthodontists also advise about how to care for your orthodontic devices and maintain good oral hygiene during your treatment.
  • Collaboration with other dental professionals: In cases where you might require multi-faceted dental treatment, orthodontists collaborate with other dental professionals to ensure you receive the comprehensive care you need.

Orthodontist Vs. Dentist: What's The Difference?

Orthodontists and dentists both focus on oral care, but they serve different roles in dental health. While all orthodontists are dentists, not all dentists are orthodontists.

Dentists provide general dental care, while orthodontists are specialised in managing the alignment of teeth and jaws.


  • After earning a general dental degree, dentists are qualified to diagnose and treat various oral health issues. This includes cavities, gum diseases, root canals, and preventive care.


  • Orthodontists start as dentists and then undergo additional specialised training (usually two to three years) in an accredited orthodontic programme. Their specialisation focuses on diagnosing, preventing, and treating dental and facial irregularities. This includes fittingbraces, clear aligners, retainers, and other corrective devices.

Book Your Free Consultation With Our Orthodontic Team

Book Your Free Orthodontic Consultation

What Are The Signs That I Might Need Orthodontic Treatment?

6 month braces before
6 month braces after

Sean Fitz's Smile Transformation

6 Month Braces

Signs that you might need to see an orthodontist include crowded or crooked teeth, gaps between teeth, and noticeable overbite or underbite:

If your teeth are crowded, crooked, misaligned or misplaced, an orthodontist can determine the best treatment options to straighten the teeth and align your bite.

If you experience jaw pain, clicking, or popping of the jaw joint (TMJ disorders), an orthodontist can assess your bite and jaw alignment to see if orthodontic treatment can alleviate these symptoms.

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If you have large gaps between teeth that affect the aesthetics of your smile and the function of your teeth, orthodontic treatment can close these gaps and distribute your teeth evenly along your jawline.

If you have an overbite, underbite, crossbite, or open bite, these can lead to difficulty in speaking and eating, and in some cases, can cause facial asymmetry.

If you're self-conscious about your smile or the alignment of your teeth, an orthodontist can provide options to enhance your smile through braces, clear aligners, or other corrective methods.

Remember, it's never too late to visit an orthodontist. The majority of our clients are adults seeking orthodontic treatment for cosmetic reasons or to correct long-standing dental issues.

Meet Your Orthodontic Team

Dr. Paul O'Connell - Dentist - 3Dental

Dr Paul O'Connell

Practice Limited to Orthodontics

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Dr.Paula Taracido - Practice Limited to Orthodontics - 3Dental Dublin

Dr Paula Taracido

Practice Limited to Orthodontics

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Dr.Sandra Montano - Orthodontist - 3Dental Dublin

Dr Sandra Montano


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Bobby Price - Dentist - 3Dental Limerick

Dr Robert Price

General Dentist/Orthodontics

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Dr Cem Algul

Specialist Orthodontist

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Dr Clara Garcia

Practice Limited to Orthodontics

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Dr Kahei Hernández

Practice Limited to Orthodontics

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Rayan Rehman - Dental Nurse - 3Dental Dublin

Rayan Rehman

Orthodontic Therapist

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Sarah Dempsey

Orthodontic Therapist

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Common Orthodontic Treatment

orthodontic treatments

Metal Braces

  • Braces: Whether you need kids braces for your child, or adult braces for yourself, these essential appliances gradually realign the teeth into the correct position. Depending on your unique needs, the orthodontist might recommend fixed braces (also known as train track braces) or removable braces, such as Invisalign.
  • Retainers: A retainer will ensure your teeth remain in their new positions after your initial treatment.
  • Face masks: Headgear and face masks can correct underbite and overbite issues. They're primarily used in younger patients - although adults might wear them in severe cases. 

Transform Your Smile With An Orthodontic Treatment Plan From 3Dental

sarah dempsey - orthodontic therapist

Sarah Dempsey - Orthodontic Therapist

Across Ireland, from our Dublin clinic to our Limerick clinic, and our Galway clinic, 3Dental orthodontists are at the forefront of orthodontic treatment, using the latest technology to provide treatments for adults and children.

Our orthodontic specialists will work with you to transform your smile, giving you a huge confidence boost. Modern treatments now mean there are more options for adults, including invisible aligners, which help correct alignment issues without being obtrusive.

We pride ourselves on creating a friendly environment for patients with flexible payment options and ongoing support throughout your treatment.

Please get in touch today to arrange an appointment.

Our Locations

The Red Cow Complex, Naas Rd, Fox-And-Geese, Dublin, D22 KV24

28, Briarhill Business Park, Galway, H91 C9DR

Old Quarter House, Little Ellen St, Limerick, V94 D72V

Commonly Asked Questions

How long does orthodontic treatment usually last?

The duration of orthodontic treatment can vary significantly depending on each person's case, the type of treatment, and how well you comply with care instructions.

On average, treatment can last anywhere from 12 to 36 months.

Are braces the only option for straightening teeth?

No, braces are just one of many orthodontic treatment options available. Clear aligners, lingual braces, and other devices can also be used to align teeth and correct bites.

The best treatment option depends on your specific needs and your preferences.

Is orthodontic treatment painful?

Orthodontic treatment can involve some discomfort, especially following the application of braces or after adjustment appointments.

However, this discomfort is typically temporary and can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers.

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