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Fred Joyal: An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in aligning or straightening of teeth. He fixes what's called a malocclusion which is a variance in your bite. It may be an overbite or may be an underbite, or teeth may be crooked in your mouth.
A dentist who is an orthodontist will use various devices or appliances; as they call them; to change the position of your teeth. Usually, metal brackets - they can be worn on the inside of the teeth or the outside or other clear brackets that in some cases be used. Invisalign® is a manufacturer of one of those types of clear brackets. They can be removed as opposed to normal braces which can not be removed.
There is a treatment period of usually two to four years and after which you would normally wear a retainer. A general dentist will normally recommend an orthodontist to you. It's important to have a general dentist to examine you. A general dentist can also do some orthodontic work. The more complicated your case is, the more likely you should see an orthodontist.