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What is an Orthodontists?

One of the basic facts of life is most people are not born with perfect teeth. A dentist can take care of the most basic of problems but when the problems are more severe they will refer you to an orthodontist. An orthodontist is not a dentist, they are a specialist. They are trained to take care of problems that can cause negative impacts in your future. Finding the right orthodontist is critical to your health and aesthetic appeal. You want a professional who is well educated, skilled, experienced and compassionate.

What’s The Difference Between A Dentist And An Orthodontist?

Understanding the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist is critical for the proper care of you teeth and jaw. Only approximately six percent of all dentist ever seek out the additional training required to become an orthodontist. An orthodontist is a specialty field and requires additional education after the completion of dental school. The field is extremely selective and competitive and not everyone has what it takes to become an orthodontist.

Why Crowded Or Crooked Teeth?

One of the most common reasons you will be sent to an orthodontist is because your teeth are either crowded or crooked. This can result in discomfort and an unattractive smile. A consultation with an orthodontist is your first step to straight teeth and a beautiful smile. Hardware such as headgear, retainers or braces are often used to properly align your teeth. A well trained orthodontist has the skill and capabilities to assess any teeth malocclusions and your jaw.

What Happens at Your First Consultation?

Your first consultation with an orthodontist is critical because any issues are usually found on your first visit. Molds, digital scans or X-rays are generally taken to be certain any problems you have are detected. Your orthodontist should explain your specific issues in detail and what strategy they will use for treatment. Your orthodontist must have the capability to know what treatment will be the most effective and the skill to properly implement the treatment.

What Conditions Can a Orthodontists Treat?

An interesting orthodontic FAQ is the range of issues an orthodontist must be able to properly treat. This includes malocclusions, jaw pain, sleep apnea, speech impediments, gum disease, adjustments, braces, problems resulting from the jaw, crooked teeth and overcrowded teeth. A malocclusion can be serious and result in the inability to chew properly. Although braces are worn for individuals of all age brackets they are most commonly required for teenage children. This is because at this age there is consistent growth and any alignment issues can be corrected earlier to prevent problems in the future. Adjustments are made over time and when the teeth are in the correct formation the braces are removed.

What are Traditional (Metal) Braces?

An orthodontist uses numerous types of braces to correct the teeth of their patients. Correctly attaching the braces and making the adjustments necessary to get the teeth to move into the correct positions takes a great deal of skill. Traditional braces have greatly improved over time and are now much lighter in their structure and weight. They are constructed from a high grade of stainless steel and use metal brackets that are attached to each individual tooth. The brackets are linked together with archwires and apply the pressure required for teeth to slowly move into their proper positions. Each time your orthodontist tightens your braces the small elastics that connect your brackets to your archwires must be changed.

What are Ceramic Braces?

Ceramic braces are similar to traditional braces but have brackets made from a ceramic material that is transparent. This particular type of brace is extremely popular with adults because they are much harder to see. A knowledgeable orthodontist will caution you that a good fluoride rinse must be used while wearing this type of brace to help prevent cavities.

What are Damon Braces?

Another type of braces used by many of the skilled orthodontists are called Damon Braces. They have become extremely popular due to the fact they provide a treatment that is much gentler than traditional braces. They also require a lot less visits to your orthodontist. Damon Braces use a sliding mechanism opposed to elastics for the connection of the archwires. This makes them self-ligating and highly effective.

Individuals who choose Damon Braces see quicker results because their teeth have the capability to move independently instead of waiting for an adjustment. This means there is less pressure and friction on your teeth making their movement less painful. This type of brace is easier to clean and less visits to your orthodontist will save you both money and time.

Orthodontics Before and After

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a type of aligner that is clear and can be used in place of Damon or traditional braces. Your orthodontist will have these aligners made specifically for your mouth. An orthodontist must have the ability to understand and effectively administer the Invisalign product to achieve the desired results. The aligners resemble mouth guards and make chewing and eating easier since you can remove them for eating and cleaning. They are exchanged for new aligners every other week with each change adjusting your teeth one step further into the process. Once your treatments is completed clear aligners are used to maintain your results until your teeth are settled and no longer moving.

What Are Forsus Appliances?

Forsus appliances are used for children by orthodontists with expert capabilities. The American Association of Orthodontists has recommended all children receive a consultation with an orthodontist by the time they are seven since this is the best possible time to begin treatment.

When a child has a severe overbite the Forsus appliance can be used instead of headgear. The Forsus appliance consists of a spring placed inside of the cheek and attached to the braces. When properly implemented it will adjust the lower or upper jaw into the correct position.

Can Overcrowded Teeth Be Corrected?

The problem of overcrowded teeth can be corrected two ways, by extracting the tooth or with the use of Palatal expansion. In the past the preferred solution was to extract the tooth. Orthodontics have modernized since then and now a palatal expander is recommended. This device it fit into your palate with the purpose of putting pressure on the backside of your upper molars. This slowly moves your teeth so they are setting farther apart. Once your palate has expanded braces can be used to correct the positioning of your teeth.

What are ADA Accredited Orthodontist Programs?

There are ADA accredited orthodontists programs that require an additional three to five years and include the studies of behavioral, biomedical and basic sciences. Training for the development of skills in tooth movements, facial surgery and facial changes are required. The ability for the diagnosis and treatment of face and neck related problems must be mastered. Every single orthodontist has passed their exam and become a licensed dentist. They have been certified in specific examinations while attending dental school. They understand the skills and knowledge necessary for clinical work. An orthodontist surpasses this and completes highly specialized training. They must then apply with the American Association of Orthodontists for permission to take the board exam. The written portion consists of 27 subjects assuring a knowledge of an orthodontists practice and theory. During the clinical portion of the exam case records are evaluated and a treatment plan must be developed for these cases.

In Conclusion

Your teeth are an important part of your life. Finding an orthodontist with the capabilities, skill, knowledge and experience to properly take care of your teeth is critical. This is a specialty profession requiring a complete understanding of the field of orthodontics.

Find an orthodontist near you and set up your initial consultation to start your journey to a beautiful new smile.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about orthodontics and general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your orthodontist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

Orthodontic FAQ