While orthodontists and dentists both help you improve your smile, they do so in different ways. Dentists specialize in many different oral health issues, such as the teeth, gum, nerves, and jaw, while orthodontists specialize in straightening teeth, aligning jaws, and occlusion. Another important thing to note is that all orthodontists are dentists; however, not all dentists are licensed orthodontists. This is because orthodontists must go to college and dental school, and on top of that, they must go to orthodontics school and must go through two to three years of a residency program. Although dentists go to college, dental school, and must go through a residency program, additional schooling is not required like it is for orthodontists.