An Orthodontist is a dentist that specializes in treating the appearance and alignment of teeth, and correcting bite issues.
While General Dentists and Pediatric Dentists are able to correct most cases of crooked and misaligned teeth, an Orthodontist will have had at least 2 years of postdoctoral education in this area. This means they specialize in all areas of correcting both the appearance and function of the teeth.
What does an Orthodontist do?
Orthodontists specialize in preventing and treating malocclusion – the inadequate alignment of the teeth and poor bite. While most patients seek orthodontic treatment for correcting the appearance of their teeth, such treatment usually corrects the function of the teeth at the same time.
Procedures performed by Orthodontists usually include, but are not limited to:
– Straightening crooked or misaligned teeth
– Correcting dental crowding (teeth too close together)
– Bite correction – so the front and back teeth meet evenly
– Reducing the likelihood of damage to protruding teeth
– Improving general appearance of teeth
What types of Orthodontic treatments are available?
As with all dental procedures, the type of treatment depends on the severity of the issue.
Traditionally, metal braces are used to correct crooked or misaligned teeth, which are typically worn until the teeth have become adequately aligned – ranging from several months to several years.
Less severe cases may be treated with a clear plastic custom-made mouthguard, such as SureSmile. This form of treatment has proved incredibly popular due to the clear mouthguard being both removable when needed (such as when eating) and significantly less noticeable than fixed metal braces.
More severe cases of misaligned and crooked teeth or poor bite may require a patient to wear headgear while sleeping, or having pins temporarily placed in the jaw, in addition to a fixed brace. In some cases, some teeth may need to be removed to make treatment more effective.
What else should I know about Orthodontic treatment?
Because most Orthodontic treatments take place over several months and require multiple visits to the practitioner, you should consider the location of the Orthodontists’ practice, taking into account the time and distance from your home.
Although your General Dentist or Pediatric Dentist may offer Orthodontic services, it is always advisable to get a second opinion from a specialist Orthodontist when extensive, complex and expensive treatment is necessary.
While Orthodontic treatment is typically associated with adolescents, many adults are now receiving dental correction procedures to improve their appearance. However, due to the teeth and bones having matured in adults, the same procedure for adolescents will take considerably longer with adults.