Orthodontics is a specialty or a branch of dentistry, and one who engages in this field is an orthodontist. This means an orthodontist is also a dentist, who did further studies in the field of orthodontics.
The aim of an orthodontist is to treat a malocclusion. This is a condition wherein the teeth are not properly positioned when the mouth is closed, leading to an incorrect or improper bite. On top of that, an orthodontist specializes in making crooked teeth and overcrowded teeth straight and correcting problems resulting from the jaw, so patients will have an aesthetically pleasing smile with straight teeth and a more comfortable bite that reduces jaw pain.
What Conditions Can an Orthodontist Treat?
Orthodontists have many years of experiences as a dentist, and they have moved on to specialize in this field. Aside from the usual four years of dentistry, they do another two years or more of special studies. Getting orthodontic treatment will result in a healthier mouth, better looking appearance, and stronger teeth that are more likely to last a lifetime. The following are the conditions that an orthodontist can treat and help improve:
This often occurs in a narrow jaw, where there is a mismatch of the size of the jaw and teeth. As a result, there is insufficient space for the teeth to grow resulting in overcrowding and misalignment. An orthodontist may prescribe a palate expander to a smaller child to help broaden both the dental arches and the jaw. In some cases, the orthodontist can resort to the extraction of one or more teeth so that the others will have room to grow.
Spaces in between the teeth
Gaps or spaces in between the teeth are often cause by missing teeth or too small teeth that do not fill out the entire jaw bone. As a result, teeth can move even further apart because they have plenty of room to freely move around in. Braces are utilized to draw in the teeth together to keep them from moving around. This condition is the opposite of over crowding.
Overbite or Deep bite
This is usually caused by genetics where in there is an over development of the upper jawbone causing the upper teeth to go too far over the lower teeth. When the bit is closed, it cause the upper part of the mouth to abnormally jut out. This is sometimes referred to as buck teeth.
This condition is the polar opposite of a deep bite sometimes referred to as the bulldog. In the same token, it can be due to genetics where there is an over development of the lower jaw and under development of the upper jaw. In this condition, the upper teeth are further back while the lower teeth are positioned forward. When the mouth is closed, the upper teeth is behind the lower teeth, making the chin protrude out in an abnormal looking fashion.
This condition is when the upper jaw and the lower jaw do not fit together correctly. When the teeth are clenched, there are areas in the upper and lower teeth that just do not match. Some are too near the cheek while other are pushed too near the tongue.
When adult permanent teeth, like the wisdom teeth, do not fully emerge from the bone or gum, or when it only emerges partially, it will cause severe pain. An orthodontist can expertly extract the offending tooth or teeth.
In this case, both the upper and lower teeth just don’t match.
Protruding front teeth or Misplaced mid line
This is usually an unsightly result from thumb sucking. Treatment can improve the appearance. More importantly, opting to treat will protect the teeth from the possibility of excessive damage from any injury the can can be sustained from sports or falls.
Other Objectives of an Orthodontist
An orthodontist’s has many objectives, and this varies depending on the issues present in the patient’s mouth. An orthodontist may treat an improper bite, close the wide gaps that can be found between the teeth, align tips of the teeth, and make crooked teeth straight. On top of these, consulting an orthodontist can also help solve several problems like the unconscious grinding or clenching of teeth at night or the abnormal clicking or moving of the jaw that is present in TMJ issues.
Failure to address these different issues can lead to these possible complications in patients. Problems with the bites can make a person’s oral health become more complicated. It can lead to gum diseases, halitosis, and abnormal wearing of the teeth because of the uneven chewing the front and back.
Take note that crooked teeth and teeth that do not fit correctly are harder to keep clean and are at the higher risk of succumbing to tooth decay and gum disease. What’s even worse is bone loss in the jawbone due to the uneven presses on the roots of the teeth.
This loss of the jawbone and its subsequent stress on the mouth muscles can ultimately develop into other worst ailments like:
- TMJ or temporomandibular joint issues that can lead to severe teeth, disks, and bones wear and tear. It can also result in head aches, jaw pain, neck pain, gum swelling, and even lock jaw.
- Impairments in speech can occur because it affects the passage of sound and the way the tongue moves.
- Sleep apnea can result when patients are unable to fully close their mouth.
- The natural aesthetics of the face can be altered if bones loss occurs or if the bite and jaw are not in harmony.
Anyone who have teeth and jaws that did not develop properly should see an orthodontist. An orthodontist will do an initial inspection, take down dental history, take plaster or digital models of the gums and teeth, and do special imaging like X-rays and photographs.
Crooked teeth and bites that do not line up need treatment because they can impact the appearance of the teeth and the face shape, which inadvertently affects self-confidence. Seeking treatment can improve speech, help with chewing, boost long term teeth and gum health, and prevent long-term excessive trauma to the teeth keeping them protected from teeth damage and decay.
To achieve these goals, the orthodontist use a range of medical dental devices. This can include removable or fixed implements like headgear, plates, clear ceramic, arch-wire, metal brackets, Invisalign clear aligners, and mouth guards. These implements are all used to aid in moving the teeth, retraining muscles, and influencing the growth of the jaw. These devices work by placing gentle pressure on both the teeth and jaws, so it will not be excessively painful for the patient. The severity of the issues will determine what orthodontic measures and treatments plans will be most beneficial.
Finding an Orthodontist
If you or a loved one is having issues with your bite or teeth alignment, it is vital to find an orthodontist to help you out. Research on the reputation of the orthodontist nearest to you. You have to make sure that this medical professional has years of experience, has the skill to follow best practices, and has the proper equipment.
You need to find an orthodontist you feel comfortable with because treatment is not overnight. It entails several monthly visits to adjust or tighten braces. Depending on the severity of the problems, treatment may last from several months to a number of years.
Remember, it is vital to seek treatment to protect the health of your mouth, which in turn can affect your confidence and smile. Everyone deserves to smile brightly, so go to your nearest orthodontist and seek help immediately.
What Conditions Can an Orthodontist Treat