More than 5,000 orthodontists in the US are working to help people with their teeth. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but they play a vital role in oral health.
So just what are orthodontists, and what exactly do they do?
Well, orthodontists use fixed and removable dental devices to change the position of teeth in the mouth. As a result, they can treat many abnormalities and ailments.
Let’s dive in to learn more about orthodontic experts and services.
What Is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a dentistry specialty that works to fix irregular and poorly positioned teeth, jaws, or bite patterns. The name comes from two Greek words:
- “Orthos” means straight or correct
- “Dontics” means teeth
What Are Orthodontists?
Orthodontists specialize in the dental practice of orthodontics. They correct your misaligned teeth or jaws by diagnosing, preventing, treating, and modifying irregularities.
They use braces, retainers, and bands to correct the irregularities and straighten teeth. Some common dental issues they treat are:
- Bite problems
- Crooked teeth
- Crowded teeth
- Jaw misalignment
Their main goal is to improve your bite. A healthy bite allows you to eat, chew, and speak properly.
Orthodontist vs. Dentist
Orthodontists and dentists are similar in many ways. For example, they both help patients achieve healthy smiles. Yet an orthodontist is different from a dentist in several ways.
Your general dentist is akin to your family doctor. It is best to visit your dentist twice a year to sustain good oral health. Dentists cover a range of oral health issues, such as:
- Gum disease
- Broken and missing teeth
But, they don’t have the training to use braces or aligners, even though some dentists offer clear aligners in their offices.
Orthodontists are dentists that continue their training. They go to school for three more years and focus only on tooth and jaw alignment. Orthodontists specialize in facial growth and dental development.
They provide the best and more effective treatment options when it comes to straightening your teeth and aligning your jaw.
Dentists and orthodontists often work in tandem to give patients the best dental care.
What Are Some Orthodontic Services?
Orthodontists provide various services to correct different problems. As mentioned, the most common are adult braces sydney, retainers, and bands.
Orthodontists use braces to treat misaligned and overcrowded teeth and malocclusions. Malocclusions are when your jaws don’t align, such as a crossbite, overbite, or underbite.
There are several types of braces. One of the most popular is metal (or traditional) braces.
A pediatric orthodontist will often use metal braces to correct the teeth misalignment in kids and teenagers.
They apply the braces to the teeth and connect them with a wire. The wire is tied to the braces using elastic bands. You cannot remove metal braces as they are stuck to your teeth.
Your orthodontists will make adjustments every 4-8 weeks to move your teeth. With metal braces, brushing and flossing are incredibly important. This is because food and other junk will easily get stuck between the teeth and braces.
Failure to take proper care of your teeth with braces can result in tooth decay and cavities.
Ceramic braces work the same as metal braces, but they are clear or tooth-colored. Ceramic braces are popular for older patients who want to straighten their teeth discreetly but cannot use clear aligners.
Self-ligating braces also work like metal and ceramic braces, but these braces use doors or clips to hold the wire in place, not elastic bands.
Finally, orthodontists place lingual braces behind the teeth, making them the most specialized and least common type of braces.
Even though they are invisible to others, they don’t have any added benefits compared to other braces.
For patients who have mild to moderate problems with their teeth, clear aligners like Invisalign are an excellent choice. Most people who use clear aligners had braces as a kid and just need a touch-up to their smile.
Clear aligners are removable, so oral health is easier to manage. Plus, since they are clear, it’s hard to see them. Because they treat less severe problems, they require short and fewer appointments.
You can read more about clear aligners at singortho.com.
After wearing braces, an orthodontist will fit a retainer to your mouth, so your teeth and jaws stay in the correct position. These retainers are removable and easy to clean. You’ll wear the retainer full-time for a few months. Then, you will only need to wear it at night in the future.
You may also receive a bonded permanent retainer, a wire placed behind the teeth. While these are harder to maintain, they last much longer than removable Hawley wire retainers.
Expanders are similar to retainers, but they help broaden the upper jaw’s curve. In addition, they work on the bones and joints of the mouth to correct their alignment. It will stay in place until the orthodontist removes it.
Cost of Orthodontic Services
Orthodontic services can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars depending on how severe your problems are and which treatments you need.
For example, Invisalign can range from $3,000 to-$7,000, while metal braces may cost $2,000 to-6,000.
However, if you need to wear metal braces for several years, you also need to consider the cost of visiting your orthodontist every 4-8 weeks for adjustments.
To get accurate pricing, speak with your orthodontist about your oral issues and which course of action is best for you.
Benefits of Seeing an Orthodontist
Straightening your teeth has several benefits aside from improving your smile. Sure, it will help improve your self-esteem.
But you will also have better chewing and clearer pronunciation. Straight teeth also provide a reduced risk of:
- Dental cavities
- Gum injury
- Gum trauma
Poor oral health also has a solid connection to heart disease. So improving your teeth and oral cleanliness will aid in improving your general health.
Your Next Steps
Not only have we answered the question, “What are orthodontists?” but we also gave you valuable information about orthodontic services, costs, and the benefits.
To straighten your teeth and improve your smile, make an appointment with an orthodontist today.
If you’re interested in learning more about your health and wellness, check out the Health section above.