July 19, 2019
An orthodontist is a specialist who can treat misaligned teeth. A lot of people think that an orthodontist is a dentist, but this is not precisely accurate. Many generalized dentists later become certified in orthodontics, but it is a separate discipline. Simply graduating in dental school is not enough because it means installing a device that can influence the shape of a jaw.
Understanding The Orthodontist Clinic
A dentist can examine teeth and fill cavities. They can identify gum disease and treat problems with both the teeth and the gums and the related nerves. They need a four or six-year degree to practice as a dentist. Most orthodontists are dentists because a dentist already thoroughly understands the anatomy of the mouth. Instead of drilling, an orthodontist positions teeth without breaking the roots and then holds them in place with a wire mechanism.
An orthodontist deals with conditions that are not technically diseases but that either do not look good or have an unwanted effect on chewing. Overbites and misaligned teeth are commonly treated. Sometimes the shape of the jaw needs to be corrected. While cosmetic problems with teeth can be adjusted even in adults, serious malformities are best treated in children when the bones are most pliable.
Defining The Orthodontist Profession
An orthodontist knows all about teeth but has expanded professionally also to know everything about the jawbone and how it is possible to modify teeth and the jaw to improve chewing. Most dentists run a small clinic and are not certified to do the work of an orthodontist but can refer you to one. This does not imply a serious condition as braces are a common adjustment. “Treatment is not surgery,” says Janie from embraceortho.com.
It is important to correct birth defects in children. A lot of oral shape issues worsen with age or else become harder to treat. A common problem is a large gap between teeth, which is called a diastema. These grow larger over time and can impede chewing or else put pressure on displaced teeth. An orthodontist can re-space the teeth so that they all have a more comfortable fit.
A less common situation is when a jaw grows an extra tooth. It creates problems when the upper and lower jaw does not sit right because the teeth do not match, so the extra tooth has to be removed. Since orthodontists are dentists, they will likely pull the extra tooth before re-spacing the teeth. This job is more complicated but readily solved.
The tools to correct misaligned teeth and jaws are many and continue to expand. The most common example is braces, which uses wire and a metal holder to apply a directional force to misaligned teeth. Usually, the wires grip brackets that are glued to the teeth surface so the enamel will not be warped or cracked by direct contact with the wires.
Braces are time-consuming to install and are the old solution. The new solution is a sort of mold called an aligner. Some brands have been popularly advertised on television, and an orthodontist can choose between brands after designing a prescription. They are not as obvious when worn and can be removed as needed. There is also less need to sit in an office while braces are being installed and later removed.
If the jaw itself is in trouble, an orthodontist might prescribe a palate expander. It applies gentle pressure to the upper jaw and the palate and changes the shape of the upper jaw over time. A more extreme solution is to connect certain teeth to a headgear that is visible outside the mouth. The purpose is to correct an upper jaw that is growing faster than the lower jaw.
Knowing About Orthodontist Training
In most places, an orthodontist must first certify as a dentist because it gives them a thorough background in oral anatomy. While a certified and trained dentist can fill cavities, an additional few years are needed to qualify as an orthodontist. All this extra training makes an orthodontist fairly specialized, and some dentists spend most of their time just straightening teeth.
Applying braces can be quite time-consuming. It takes a lot of time to apply brackets and then even more time to manually thread the brackets onto a precisely shaped retainer. If both the upper and lower jaws receive braces, then the process can require quite a few visits to the orthodontics office. The first session is to receive a prescription. The actual work has to be scheduled, and often the wait for work is longer than for the initial inspection.
Having braces can take one to three years. This depends on the severity of the misalignment and the resulting need to adjust the braces. After the brackets have been removed, the process is usually complete. The teeth should be straight and preferably more functional than before.
Whether or not you visit an orthodontist might depend on whether or not a regular dentist believes a condition can be treated with a product similar to Invisalign. Since these retainers are manufactured rather than installed in the mouth, the manual work by a professional is not needed. They could be the perfect solution for a minor cosmetic adjustment. For more serious work, consult an orthodontist.