Orthodontists are dental specialists who work to bring the teeth and jaws into their ideal position for optimal oral health. It is very common for children and young teens to visit orthodontists to monitor or correct complications with emerging permanent teeth. Though a child may visit the orthodontist at any time, the elementary years serve as a prime opportunity for early orthodontic intervention.
Did you know…
the ideal age for a child to visit an orthodontist for the first time is age 7? Though not all orthodontic issues can be addressed at this age, many of them can at least be identified. An orthodontist may be able to pinpoint potential issues with crowding, alignment, protruding teeth, under-bites and more.
What are some signs that my child may need orthodontic treatment?
Only your child’s pediatric dentist can determine whether he or she should consult with an orthodontist about possible treatment. However, there are some signs that your child may benefit from orthodontic treatment:
Orthodontists often use special appliances, such as braces, to bring a child’s teeth and jaws into proper alignment. Mouth appliances are custom-fitted and may be fixed or removable. In some cases, an orthodontist may recommend that certain teeth be removed to facilitate treatment.
Orthodontic treatment requires a long-term commitment. Expect to bring your child for return visits on a regular basis for several years. The exact duration of treatment depends on the child, the type of treatment and the severity of the condition being treated. For example, a child with braces may undergo treatment for two or three years, but wear a retainer to maintain treatment results for a lifetime.
Orthodontists primarily treat patients who need help correcting certain maxillofacial problems, such as misaligned teeth, malocclusion, or too much space between the teeth. Treating these conditions requires the assistance of orthodontic appliances, of which there are many. Orthodontic appliances come in many variations – some being fixed and some being removable. They serve various purposes, from active treatment to maintenance. Some of the most commonly used orthodontic appliances include:
Did you know?
that braces are the most commonly used fixed orthodontic appliances in the U.S.? Invented in the early 1800s, these devices have since become widely popular. At any given time, at least 4 million people in the U.S. are undergoing orthodontic treatment. The majority of them are children and teens, although the U.S. has seen a sharp increase in adult orthodontics over the past few decades.
You or your child will only need an appliance if an orthodontist recommends one based on a diagnostic evaluation. Schedule a consultation with your orthodontist to find out more about appliances and whether they can help you achieve your cosmetic and health goals.
If your orthodontist determines that you are a candidate for an oral appliance, you’ll be brought in for a custom fitting. Fixed appliances, such as braces, are applied in the office. Others, such as retainers, are fabricated in a dental lab after your orthodontist takes an impression of your mouth.
Yes, and you will receive those instructions before leaving your orthodontist’s office. Removable appliances must be worn according to your orthodontist’s instructions and also properly cleaned and stored when not in use. Fixed appliances require dietary changes to protect them from becoming a damaged and prolonging treatment.
An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the treatment of crooked or misaligned teeth. Contrary to popular belief, this branch of dentistry is not merely about the cosmetic appearance of patient smiles, but also about their oral health. Patients who visit an orthodontist for treatment often find it easier to brush their teeth and floss. This significantly reduces the risk of developing tooth decay or periodontal disease. Some of the conditions orthodontists treat include:
Did you know…
that orthodontists are dentists who have spent an additional 2 or 3 years in specialty training following dental school? Dentists perform a broad range of work, with occasional orthodontic treatments. Orthodontists, on the other hand, only see orthodontic patients. So even if your family dentist offers to straighten your teeth, keep in mind that only an orthodontist has the type of specialized training that ensures functional and aesthetic results.
You only need to visit an orthodontist if one or more of your teeth are improperly aligned. Keep in mind that it is never too late to see an orthodontist – whether child or adult.
Your orthodontist will conduct an exam and use diagnostic imaging technology to determine the health of your tooth structure and whether orthodontic treatment is right for you. Orthodontic treatments usually involve the use of appliances like braces, space maintainers or jaw repositioning devices.
Depending on the results of your visit, you may be asked to return for additional exams or follow-up visits in the future.
The process of placing an orthodontic appliance is non-surgical, but it does require special post-procedural instructions to minimize patient discomfort and protect each patient’s appliance from damage. Failure to follow these instructions can prolong treatment, make treatment more costly, or even result in a dental or orthodontic emergency.
Did you know…
that it is normal for orthodontic patients to experience some pain or discomfort following orthodontic treatment? Usually, soreness occurs in the muscles and teeth and can last for one to two days. During this time, many patients find difficulty eating – especially foods that are hard or crunchy. To relieve discomfort, it is recommended that patients temporarily consume a diet of soft foods or otherwise cut harder foods, like apples, into very small bites.
Yes. Every directive is given for a reason, so it is imperative that you follow doctor’s recommendations between orthodontic appointments. Also, never leave your orthodontist’s office without the supplies necessary to facilitate post-op care. This may include acquiring orthodontic wax to protect your cheeks and gums from poking wires, or obtaining enough elastic bands and cleaning aids to last until your next orthodontic visit.
Instructions vary from patient to patient and according to treatment. But if you have a fixed orthodontic appliance, you will probably have to follow special dietary guidelines to prevent damage to your braces or other orthodontic appliance. Most dietary restrictions include avoiding foods that are very hard or sticky, such as ice and chewy candies. If you do not have a fixed orthodontic appliance, your post-op instructions will include information about storing and cleansing your device.
Possibly. There may be some visits where you are told to wear elastics or activate your expander until your next visit. It is important to never leave your orthodontist’s office until you have a thorough understanding of your responsibilities at home. Continue to use proper brushing and flossing techniques, visit your dentist for periodic cleanings and examinations, and contact your orthodontist’s office if you have any post-op questions.
Dental braces have come a long way since they were invented in the 1800’s. Today, Americans and residents of are privy to a bevy of tooth-straightening options, each of which offers different benefits. Currently, the most popular types of braces used in include:
Did you know…
that you do not have to have crooked teeth to benefit from braces? Even patients with a little bit of crowding can benefit from orthodontic treatment. When the teeth are properly aligned, patients can better clean between the teeth, preventing decay and gum disease. Furthermore, teeth that are optimally aligned can help remedy malocclusion complications, such as headaches.
Only you and your dentist can determine whether braces are right for you. However, chances are you could benefit from treatment if your teeth are crooked, overlapping or protruding. Schedule an appointment with your dentist or orthodontist for more information.
You will have certain dietary restrictions with most types of braces except Invisalign. Some foods, such as hard, sticky and chewy foods, can have an adverse effect on braces and damage the brackets and wires. You will also need to make frequent office visits to have wires tightened. If you have Invisalign, there are no dietary restrictions, as the orthodontic trays are fully removable when eating. You’ll also be able to switch to a new Invisalign tray every few weeks without visiting your dentist.
When you have completed your treatment, you will have your braces removed and be given a retainer. The retainer must be worn at all times initially to help preserve the new placement of your teeth. As time progresses, you may be able to begin wearing your retainer only at night.