Some people do not know the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist. These two different professions may share a few similarities, yet orthodontia involves a specialized form of dental-care. This type of specialist treats specific dental problems that are mainly focused on treating mislaigned teeth.
The Definition Of An Orthodontist
Dentists are doctors that treat specific areas in the mouth which include the nerves, gums, teeth and jaw. The orthodontists work with more specialized sections. Their main priority is focused on straightening and correcting teeth.
These specialists diagnose misaligned jaws and teeth, occlusions, overbites, and an overcrowded mouth. After a diagnosis, an orthodontist will work out a treatment plan to solve the issues they have discovered. When left untreated, under-bites, cross bites, overbites, and open bites are issues that usually become worse as time goes by.
What Do Orthodontists Do?
Orthodontists receive specialized training that involves fixing misaligned teeth. The more important role of this type of dentist is associated with diagnosing issues with the mouth and the teeth. For example, a gap between two teeth which is known as diastema usually becomes bigger over time. The surrounding teeth will become affected as gums and the mouth require the correct alignment. At the same time, when the mouth is overcrowded, the orthodontist will usually extract excess teeth (more common in children) in order to provide better spacing in the mouth.
Orthodontists use various tools in order to solve alignment issues. The most common solution includes braces which are made up of bands which encircle the patient’s teeth. The dentist bonds brackets onto the front part of each tooth, while the bands connect to these brackets with the use of wires. The combination of these structures work on pulling the teeth slowly into alignment which results in straighter and better aligned teeth.
When braces are not a viable option, the orthodontist may recommend aligners. The more popular choice today is known as Invisalign. The design of these aligners are discreet and are the preferable choice as they do not use metal brackets or wires. Many patients prefer aligners as they are also removable.
In cases that are extreme, orthodontists might treat a patient with a tool known as a palate-expander. This works on widening the arch in the upper part of the jaw, which provides more space.
What Type Of Training Do Orthodontists Need?
Orthodontists will first complete standard dental training. The dental schools typically involve 4-years of classes in order to graduate. Many dentists usually stop here. To practice and earn a license, students need to train for another 2 to 3 years before they can qualify to become an orthodontist. The additional years of training mainly involve specializing in straightening teeth.
How Do Appointments With Orthodontists Work?
Booking an appointment with your chosen orthodontist is the same as scheduling a booking with your dentist. You will wait in the waiting area until you are called in. From here you will go into an examination room and when you were referred by your dentist, the orthodontist is probably already aware about issues with your mouth, jaw or teeth. Regardless of the problem, your mouth will be examined so that the orthodontist can decide on the best treatment plan for your needs.
For some treatments you will need to return for regular visits. This is especially true when it comes to braces. After the diagnosis the orthodontist will discuss the problems with your teeth with you followed by taking x-rays. The next appointment will involve the installation of the braces. From here you will return on a regular basis to ensure your braces are working or to tighten or loosen the bands or brackets. Depending on the severity of the misalignment the process usually takes anything from 1 to 3 years. When your braces are finally removed you should be left with much straighter and better aligned teeth.
If your teeth need straightening, it is advisable to first book a session with your dentist to decide on the best treatment plan. Your dentists may suggest Invisalign as a treatment, which does away with having to go to an orthodontist.
If you are referred to an orthodontist, take comfort in knowing that you will be visiting a professional that is skilled in this line of work. Even though you might need to wear metal headgear, an aligner or braces for a year or two, maybe more, orthodontists are focused on helping you to achieve a better smile and a healthier mouth.
If you have a dental insurance plan that covers orthodontics, it is usually a better idea to start your treatment closer to when the calendar year ends. This will mean that the payments for treatments will span over 2 years as most of these insurance plans