What Is an Orthodontist?
The world of dentistry is vast, with many different fields within it. One of them is orthodontics. What is an orthodontist doing in comparison with a regular dentist? An orthodontist is a dental specialist who focuses on preventing, diagnosing, and treating facial and dental irregularities. An orthodontist can provide you with various treatments depending on your condition. They can fix your crooked teeth, a bad bite, a misaligned jaw, etc.
Orthodontics isn’t simply about aesthetics; your orthodontist can help you return your mouth’s functionality. So, if you want to read more about what orthodontics can offer, feel free to do so, and visit us at Bronzeville Orthodontics. Now, let’s discuss some more orthodontics.
The Difference Between an Orthodontist and a Dentist
So, what are the things that differentiate an orthodontist from a dentist? Well, firstly, it’s important to note that there are many similarities that they share. After all, general dentistry and orthodontics overlap and share methods. However, while a dentist deals with many different aspects of oral health, an orthodontist mainly focuses on teeth straightening and jaw alignments.
What Does an Orthodontist Do?
So, as we’ve mentioned, orthodontists specialize in fixing jaw misalignments and straightening teeth. They can recommend dental devices such as braces and retainers that will reposition your teeth and treat any abnormalities, say, crooked teeth, bite problems, crowded teeth, and jaw misalignment.
Orthodontists work to improve the functionality of your bite, which improves the quality of your teeth altogether. While many people relate dental devices like retainers and braces to young people and children, orthodontists specialize in treating people of all ages.
What Treatments Does an Orthodontist Offer?
The treatment your orthodontist will recommend to you depends on your specific situation. That being said, there are many different things your orthodontist can do for you. Most people visit an orthodontist because of misalignment, which means that their upper and lower jaw don’t match each other and the teeth. That leads to problems such as tooth overcrowding, biting issues, or a misshapen jaw.
So, depending on your condition, orthodontists can provide you with the following treatment methods.
Your orthodontist can provide you with all different kinds of dental appliances. All sorts of braces, as well as clear aligners, are on the table. If you have minor misalignments, your orthodontist will probably suggest clear aligners, or clear braces as they’re also called, instead of regular braces.
Many people with minor misalignments opt for these because they’re easy to wear and care for. And they’re also very discreet. Results will usually show after 12–18 months of wearing.
If your teeth need a bit more work, your dentist will probably suggest braces, namely, braces that aren’t removable (or permanent braces as they’re often known). These braces can fix the positions of your teeth and align them back in place over a few years.
Sometimes braces and aligners just won’t cut it, so you might need surgery instead. Patients with severe underbites or overbites can experience many problems due to their conditions, and surgery can often solve them. By using surgical screws, plates, metal wires, and other tools, an orthodontist will be able to add support to your jaw. If the misalignment is corrected, the patient will no longer experience any problems with the following:
- Biting, chewing, and speaking
- The appearance and symmetry of the face
- Cleaning of the teeth
How to Know if You Should Start Seeing an Orthodontist?
So, you should see an orthodontist if your teeth are crooked or if you start noticing that you’re having problems with chewing. However, seeing an orthodontist as a preventive measure is also very important.
The consensus goes that you should already have an orthodontist by the time you start school. This way, an orthodontist can treat problems early on. Children have mouths still in their development stages, which makes it easier to align their teeth with braces. That is why many children start wearing aligners and braces somewhere around their preteens.
But orthodontic treatment isn’t only for children. Adults should see an orthodontist for check-ups every so often. So, if you haven’t seen one in a while, this might be the sign to do so.
What You Can Expect From the Orthodontist
So, what happens at your first orthodontist appointment? Well, first, you’ll need a consultation, which will go something like this:
- You’ll go through an oral exam
- The orthodontist will take photos of your smile and your face
- The orthodontist will have dental x-rays performed on you
- They will also perform panoramic x-rays of your face and head
- Impressions of your teeth will be taken to create molds
All of these steps are there to ensure that the orthodontist knows how to determine the perfect treatment method and proceed with it. By the next time you come in for an appointment, they’ll probably have the perfect treatment methods for further discussion.
Do Orthodontists Treat Other Dental Issues?
So, orthodontists mainly cover teeth misalignments and everything related to them. However, there are a few other dental issues your orthodontist might be able to help you with. These issues include jaw pain, sleep apnea, and gum disease. Orthodontists are jaw experts, so they can help you with any discomfort regarding your jaw.
They can also treat sleep apnea that is happening due to misaligned teeth. And if such is the case, they will suggest braces or aligners treat the problem. You can consult your orthodontist on gum disease, especially if you’re a braces wearer.