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What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry which involves the prevention and correction of irregularities in the teeth. Doctors who specialize in this field are called orthodontists. An orthodontist has specialized and in-depth knowledge about the human teeth and jaws. Providing treatment for people who have alignment problems associated with their teeth and jaws is their goal. The treatment provided will vary from person to person depending on their specific problem. Orthodontists can help make sure that our teeth and jaws remain in good condition.

An orthodontist’s job is to identify the underlying problem of the teeth, identify the cause and proceed with the treatment based on his identifications. There are certain steps that are being carried out before the orthodontist would start the treatment. These steps are carried out as a part of diagnosis. The diagnosis method involves assessing the dental and medical history of the patient, examining the patient clinically, examining the X ray reports, etc. In the process, the orthodontist closely examines the conditions of the teeth and severity of the problem from all the results he obtains from the diagnosis steps. Once the orthodontist arrives at a conclusion after the diagnosis, he will decide on the way he or she can treat his patient.

What Is Involved in Orthodontics Treatment?

The treatment includes appliances that are used to correct the improper positioning of the teeth and correct the growth of the jaw muscles. The appliances used for the treatment can be either fixed or removable. The orthodontist’s decision of which type of appliance will be used, varies from patient to patient and the severity of the problems associated with the teeth and jaws of the patients. When the problem is severe, the appliance chosen for treatment is usually fixed. In the case of more minor problems, removable appliances are generally preferred.

One of the most popular orthodontic treatments is braces. Braces are special equipment for maintaining space between two teeth when the in-between tooth has fallen down. One of the most popular products on the market is Invisalign, which are clear braces. Many people feel self-conscious about having metal braces on their teeth, whereas most people don’t even notice when someone is wearing Invisalign.

There are also special appliances to avoid the thrush of tongue. For removable appliances, there is the aligner, which can be a replacement for braces. People use aligner for cosmetic purposes. Other devices include headgear, lip and cheek bumpers, palatal expanders, removable retainers and splints.

To be brief about each of the methods, headgear is associated to correct the jaws position. Next is lip and cheek bumpers, which are used for relieving pressure from the lips and cheeks to the teeth. Palatal expander is for palatal bones that needs to be expanded for the proper alignment of the teeth. Removable retainers are associated with preventing the teeth from going back to their original position and to avoid sucking of thumb, while splints are used for healing purposes. Patients are sometimes allowed to select their mode of treatment based on cost, intensity of problems, and comfort zone. But cases where the conditions are severe, the orthodontist generally decides upon the treatment. Most of the treatments are temporary, while certain treatments can last up to three years based on the condition of the teeth.

What Causes Orthodontic Problems?

Almost everyone has some problems associated with their teeth, although not everyone will need to see an orthodontist. One can rarely point out very few who have problem-free teeth. While some reasons for this are due to hereditary, that is, genetically transmitted due to family reasons, other reasons include sucking of the thumb in early age, some unusual accidents, or losing a tooth prematurely. In any case, many people do not care about their teeth until they reach some critical emergency.

It is also very common nowadays to have a tooth that has not developed in a correct position, that is, there is some irregularity in the position of the teeth. When such symptoms are seen, it is very important and necessary to make a visit to the orthodontist as soon as possible. It is always better to visit an orthodontist when the symptoms are seen, because the earlier intervention can always help in treating the conditions of the teeth and jaw easier and quicker. Many orthodontists recommend that parents bring their children in for a checkup appointment when they turn seven. By taking the children at his very young age for examination, one can avoid problems related to their teeth and jaw as they grow up. Problems like improper tooth position, problems due to sucking of the thumb (which is prevalent among babies), improper placement of jaws, can be identified and treated easily when it is identified at an earlier age.

It is also equally important to take great care in how the correct orthodontist is chosen. This is a very important step to be followed, as the wrong choice can make things worse than ever. The first and foremost thing is to get a reference from your family dentist. Normally you can trust the words of your dentist in identifying the best orthodontist suiting your needs. The next best thing would be the valuable suggestions from friends and relatives. Definitely, there would be people from the surrounding places who might have undergone similar treatments for their dental problems, and they may have valuable feedback about specific orthodontists.

When choosing your orthodontist, be sure to inquire about the number of years of experience they have in their field. It is also very important to familiarize yourself with the treatments they currently provide and the cost of the treatments. In rare cases of emergency, it is good to know beforehand what facilities are available and what your orthodontist plans to do. If you want to find orthodontists but save money, you could always choose a dental school, as they often offer treatments at lower cost. However, orthodontists at these facilities may not have as much experience. It all depends on your individual needs and it is for you to choose the right method applicable to you or your loved ones.

In conclusion, it is worthwhile to note that orthodontists have been playing a very vital role in protecting our teeth and jaws and helping them stay healthy and strong. After you’ve chosen an orthodontist that you’re comfortable with and he or she has performed the necessary procedure, it’s very likely that you’ll be a satisfied patient. It is always the intention of the orthodontist to keep your smile healthy.

Find Orthodontists with ListOrtho

At the top of this page, please click on your state to find a local orthodontist. Please keep in mind that we at ListOrtho are not medical professionals ourselves, so nothing here should be construed as medical advice. Everything on this website is just our opinion. Please consult an orthodontist, dentist, or doctor for your medical questions.