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Orthodontics is the dental specialty which treats malocclusion (crooked teeth) with the help of braces. It also includes procedures that deal with modifying the facial growth, which is called dentofacial orthopedics. The dental specialist who provides orthodontic treatment is called an orthodontist. One needs to consult an orthodontist if the teeth are protruded or crowded, or if there is excessive spacing between teeth, jaw growth problems, missing permanent teeth, and retained milk teeth.
Orthodontic treatment is carried out with orthodontic appliances. These appliances can be either fixed or removable. The different types of fixed appliances are braces, space maintainers, fixed retainer, and other special appliances. Aligners, headgear, removable retainers, and palatal expanders are few examples of removable appliances. As the treatment results are much better with fixed appliances, the use of removable appliances is decreasing.
These appliances help in moving the crooked teeth and teeth with gaps into a proper position. As a result, the teeth look more aesthetically pleasing. Some people have incorrect bite because of the way the upper and the lower jaw meet. In such a case, orthodontic treatment helps to transfer the biting force on all the teeth evenly, which is good for oral health in the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the role of an orthodontist?
Dental surgeons who specialize in orthodontics, which is the branch of dental science that deals with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of irregularities in the growth and position of the jaws and teeth, are called orthodontists. They mainly treat crooked or misaligned teeth, bad bites, and improperly aligned jaws with the help of dental braces and other appliances.
Are general dentist and orthodontist the same?
Both the general dentist and orthodontist are dental health experts, who diagnose and treat conditions affecting the teeth, gums, and mouth. They provide general dental care for patients of all ages. In addition, an orthodontist also specializes in orthodontics, which trains them to treat discrepancies in facial and dental growth.
Can orthodontists fill dental cavities?
Yes, an orthodontist can restore dental cavities with dental fillings. As they undergo training in general dentistry also, they can perform all general dental treatments.
What are the common conditions that an orthodontist treats?
An orthodontist treats the following orthodontic problems or conditions:
- Overbite - When you bite, your upper teeth bite over the lower teeth more than normal.
- Underbite - When you bite, your lower teeth and placed forward than your upper teeth.
- Protruded teeth - When your teeth are inclined more towards to outside.
- Inclined teeth - When your teeth are inclined more towards the inside.
- Spacing - Presence of more than normal space between teeth.
- Crowding - When your teeth overlap each other.
When to consult an orthodontist?
It is best to take your kid to an orthodontist at 7 to 8 years of age, as this the period when they have both milk and permanent teeth in the mouth. The orthodontist will be able to identify problems that might make it necessary to start orthodontic treatment early. And orthodontic conditions are easy to treat when they are caught early.
Can an orthodontist perform extraction?
As stated earlier, as an orthodontist is also trained to perform general dental treatments, he or she can also extract a tooth.
Does orthodontist perform surgeries?
No, an orthodontist does not usually perform surgeries. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons perform surgeries to correct jaw abnormalities, while orthodontists treat them using orthodontic appliances.
What are the commonly used orthodontic appliances?
- Fixed braces.
- Removable braces.
- Functional appliances (fixed or removable appliance that guides mandibular growth).
- Headgear ( to correct severe bite problems).
What age is best for getting braces?
The best time to get braces are between 10 and 14 years of age. This is the time when almost all permanent teeth, except for wisdom teeth, erupt in the oral cavity.
Do orthodontists clean your teeth before treatment with braces?
Yes, it is important to get your teeth cleaned before orthodontic treatment or braces. This is because it becomes difficult to maintain your oral hygiene properly after you get braces, as the wires and brackets are difficult to clean.