What Is an Orthodontist?
When it comes to dentistry, there are a lot of different specialties that focus on very specific areas of the mouth. Everyone is familiar with general dentists, but not everyone knows what an orthodontist is. Orthodontists are fully qualified dentists who attend three additional years of education in university study programs and attend an orthodontic residency program. Orthodontists go out of their way to learn about how to prevent, diagnose, and treat bad bites (usually teeth alignment issues). Orthodontists are most well known in dentistry for being the ones who apply braces and other alignment systems to teeth.
What does an orthodontist do?
Orthodontists aim to prevent misaligned teeth and correct teeth that have already become misaligned. Orthodontists also correct alignment issues with the jaw. Teeth and jaw alignment issues can cause a wide range of issues for those who have them, such as speech defects, difficulties eating, even jaw pain and poor oral hygiene.
Issues that orthodontists successfully treat include:
How do orthodontists realign teeth and jaws?
The first step to the treatment of orthodontic issues is to conduct a thorough examination of the jaw and teeth. Using panoramic x-rays and dental impressions we can begin to build a treatment plan. We will make sure that the patient fully understands the treatment plan and the timeline estimates before beginning treatment.
Dental BracesThe most common form of teeth alignment is dental braces. Braces are made of brackets that are affixed to each tooth and archwires that run between all of the brackets. The archwire is usually held in place by small rubber bands. Brackets are typically made of metal or ceramic.
Headgear and Face MasksThese devices are used to correct both jaw and teeth alignment issues. While braces can push and pull teeth using other teeth as anchors, headgear and face masks provide an anchor outside of the mouth which exacts pressure on the teeth and jaw, allowing us more control over where the teeth end up.
RetainersRetainers are placed on teeth that have undergone realignment and must be kept in place. Teeth can drift back into their original locations if retainers are not used.
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