What is an Orthodontist?
Most of us know automatically what a general dentist is: they are the doctor you turn to you when you need to schedule a routine checkup, a dental cleaning, or you need a procedure like a filling or a root canal performed. However, when you need specialized care, you need a doctor who has undergone more advanced training.
While all orthodontists are dentists, not all dentists are orthodontists. An orthodontist is a type of dentist who received extra training to help diagnose, prevent, and treat any issues that may occur with your jaw and bite. We here at First Impressions Orthodontics for Children & Adults are proud to provide our patients with the highest quality of care when it pertains to your dental alignment, bite, and jaw.
What Kind of Training Does an Orthodontist Have?
Orthodontists take several years of school to learn what they need to know to practice in their field. Many dentists take four years of coursework in dental school, then start practicing right after. As orthodontists, we go on to take another additional three to four years of coursework. This helps us have the knowledge and skill to accurately identify any concerns that you may have with your bite and jaw.
What Does an Orthodontist Do?
Unlike general dentists, we are much more focused on our area of specialty. Our area of concern is anything that may be related to any issues that may occur with your bite or jaw. This is called malocclusion and can include concerns such as crowded teeth, gaps, and spaces between your teeth, crooked teeth, overbite, underbite, open bite, and crossbite.
Many people mistakenly believe that the work we do is exclusively cosmetic, but it is so much more important than that. The fact is, malocclusion can lead to many serious complications if they remain untreated. Your teeth play a big role in your ability to bite and chew with comfort. They also influence your ability to speak clearly and without problems. Issues with your dental alignment can change the appearance and function of your face, and it can also make maintaining proper oral hygiene a challenge.
How Do We Treat Malocclusion?
Depending on the type of malocclusion and the severity of it, there are many different ways we can approach treatment for you. A popular choice of orthodontic treatment includes the use of dental braces. Dental braces can include traditional braces (which include wires and brackets on the front of your teeth to adjust them) and lingual braces (those worn behind the teeth).
Some types of malocclusion can be treated with clear dental aligners, which are a type of clear thermoplastic tray that can improve the function and appearance of your teeth. The type of orthodontic treatment that you receive from us will be largely dependent on the type and severity of your malocclusion.
Who Needs to See an Orthodontist?
Bite, and alignment issues can affect patients of all ages. While many people believe that orthodontic treatment is something that is reserved for children, the truth is, one in five orthodontic patients are adults. Early detection and diagnosis of malocclusion are critical, though, to help ensure that the teeth grow in properly.
If you are interested in learning more about the field of orthodontics, or you are ready to schedule an appointment with us here at First Impressions Orthodontics for Children & Adults, please give us a call today at (203) 307-0996!