A Family Dentist’s Guide to Orthodontists & Your Dental Health

Once a rite of passage for many adolescents, orthodontic treatment is now increasingly popular for older adults, while traditional silver brackets are becoming less common. Much of this is attributable to improvements in the convenience and aesthetics made possible by clear aligner trays. Advances in technology such as this allow general dentists to provide more comprehensive care that once would have required the intervention of dental specialists. Orthodontics is one such area.

Our dental practice serves all members of the family and offers a wide range of services, including orthodontic therapy with clear aligner trays, a more discreet and increasingly popular alternative to traditional braces. However, while we can handle most dental issues, including straightening your teeth, there are instances where specialized care is necessary. In such cases, we will refer you to a trusted orthodontist to ensure you receive the best care for your needs.

What Is an Orthodontist?

Many people think about seeing an orthodontist for cosmetic purposes and improving the look of their smiles. In reality, this area of expertise encompasses so much more.

Orthodontics is a specialized field of dentistry that focuses on diagnosing, preventing, and treating dental and facial irregularities. The professionals who practice in this field are known as orthodontists, and they play a crucial role in helping individuals achieve proper alignment and function of their teeth and jaws.

Orthodontists undergo additional training after dental school to diagnose and treat issues related to the alignment of teeth and jaws. They use various appliances to correct these problems and help patients achieve a beautiful, functional smile.

Why Would You See an Orthodontist?

There are many reasons why you might consult an orthodontist. Orthodontic treatment can improve your smile, prevent future dental problems, make it easier to clean your teeth, and fix issues with chewing, speaking, and even breathing.

Some of the most common reasons include:

  • More complex case than your general dentist can provide

  • Straightening crooked teeth

  • Relieving overcrowded teeth

  • Correcting an overbite, underbite, or crossbite

  • Widening the jaw

  • Closing gaps between teeth

  • Treating TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder

  • Improving your smile

When Should You See an Orthodontist?

Orthodontists also provide preventative care, identifying potential issues in children and adolescents before they become severe. Early intervention can reduce the need for more extensive treatment later on and help maintain good oral health throughout a person’s life.

Often the best time to see an orthodontist is usually during the pre-teen years when the jaw is still growing. However, you can see an orthodontist at any age. If you have any concerns about your teeth or bite, it’s a good idea to talk to us about whether you should see an orthodontist. Our office will also recommend if you’d benefit from a consultation from an orthodontist vs. doing orthodonitc treatment in our office.

What Types of Treatment Do Orthodontists Offer?

There are many different types of orthodontic treatment available. Some of the most common types of treatment include:

  • Braces: Braces are the most common type of orthodontic treatment. They consist of brackets bonded to the teeth and connected by wires. Braces can straighten teeth, correct bite problems, and widen the jaw.

  • Clear Aligner Trays: An option like Invisalign® is a clear alternative to braces. It consists of a series of clear aligners worn over the teeth and offers a good choice for people who want a discreet orthodontic treatment.

  • Lingual braces: Lingual braces are placed on the inside of the teeth so they are not visible when you smile. Lingual braces are a good option for people who are self-conscious about braces.

  • Headgear: Headgear is used to correct severe bite problems. It consists of a band that is worn around the head and connected to braces on the teeth.

What Can I Expect During Orthodontic Treatment?

Family dentists and orthodontists work together to ensure their patients receive the best dental care. The collaboration is a continuous process, with the family dentist often being the first to identify potential alignment issues during routine check-ups. They then communicate these findings to the orthodontist to formulate a personalized treatment plan. This symbiotic relationship ensures seamless care, where the expertise of both the family dentist and the orthodontist contribute to achieving the best possible oral health outcome.

Orthodontic treatment can vary depending on the type of treatment you receive and the severity of your problems. However, there are some things that you can expect during orthodontic treatment:

  • Making regular visits to the office

  • Wearing braces or aligners for a certain amount of time

  • Experiencing some discomfort, especially in the first few weeks of treatment

  • Needing to brush and floss your teeth more often than usual

Orthodontic treatment can be a long process, but it’s worth the reward.

How to Find the Right Orthodontist for You

Finding the right orthodontist is essential to achieving the best results. Here are some tips to help you find the perfect fit:

  • Ask for Recommendations: Talk to your dentist, friends, family, and colleagues who have undergone orthodontic treatment. Their personal experiences can provide valuable insights into the quality of care and customer service different orthodontists provide.

  • Read Reviews: Online reviews can also help you get a sense of what to expect from a particular orthodontist. Look for consistently high ratings and positive feedback from satisfied patients.

  • Check Credentials: Make sure the orthodontist you choose is board-certified and has completed the necessary education and training to practice in their field.

  • Schedule a Consultation: Before committing to treatment, schedule a consultation to discuss your needs and goals with the orthodontist. This will give you an opportunity to ask questions, learn about their treatment approach, and determine if you feel comfortable moving forward. Consider scheduling additional consultations and getting a second opinion before making a decision.

In conclusion, orthodontist treatment plays a vital role in helping individuals achieve healthy, beautiful smiles. Whether you’re seeking treatment for yourself or a loved one, understanding the importance of orthodontics and finding the right professional can make all the difference in the success of your treatment journey. Don’t hesitate to ask us questions and take the first step towards a healthier and more confident, radiant smile.

If you’re interested in learning more about clear aligner trays, follow us on social media and get alerted to our next blog post when we take an in-depth look at this popular treatment.

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