Both medical professions can offer substantial salaries, however, an orthodontist can earn much more than a dentist. You could consider the salary you want as a means to help you choose between these two professional careers. General dentists must be trained with a variety of tools, including small pieces of machinery and computer technology, and they often work with staff that includes dental assistants and dental hygienists, who help with tasks such as cleanings. Unlike dental hygienists, dentists use surgical instruments for a range of procedures, including the extraction of teeth and the placement of dental appliances.
Both dentists and orthodontists first earn a bachelor's degree from a four-year university and then apply to dental school, taking the Dental Admission Exam (DAT) as part of the application process in most programs.