Why Choose an Orthodontist?
While most people understand the importance of visiting their dentist regularly, many don’t realize that by the age of seven, all children should also be seen by an orthodontist to address and treat problems of malocclusion or other issues with their bite. Although some dentists have learned how to provide Invisalign® or other types of orthodontic treatments, they usually do not have the skill, expertise and experience of a professional orthodontist.
What is an Orthodontist?
Orthodontists are specialists within dentistry who focus on tooth alignment and jaw function. One of the most important things that orthodontists do is evaluate and treat malocclusion, which refers to a patient’s "bite" or how the top and bottom teeth meet when the mouth opens and closes. Orthodontists diagnose, prevent and treat malocclusions. An orthodontist specializes in the alignment of the teeth and jaws using a range of non-surgical procedures and devices. The goal of orthodontic treatment is to improve how a patient’s teeth and jaw function, but it often has the added advantage of also improving your appearance.
When Should I See an Orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children be evaluated by an orthodontist at the first suspicion of an orthodontic problem, but no later than age seven. However, you are never too old to benefit from orthodontic treatment. Older children, teens and adults make up the variety of patients in most orthodontic practices. If you have trouble biting or speaking, or you suffer from TMJ issues, you will probably benefit from seeing an orthodontist.
How Do I Choose a Good Orthodontist?
Finding the right orthodontist is an extremely important decision to ensure that you receive the best care and an excellent result at an affordable price, with comprehensive support throughout the entire process. At Sequence Orthodontics we understand that by undergoing treatment you will be making a big commitment to one orthodontist for several months or years, so we go to great lengths to make sure that you feel fully comfortable with our doctors. The right orthodontist can really make the entire process much easier, more pleasant and more successful.
What Is the Difference Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist?
Orthodontists are specialists trained in tooth movement and jaw function while dentists are considered general dental practitioners. A dentist is usually a primary care provider who will manage your overall dental care, including routine dental checkups, cleaning and X-rays. Dentists also remove or repair problem teeth, fill cavities and prescribe dentures. Typical dental health treatments include gum care, root canals, fillings, crowns, veneers, bridges and teeth whitening. In the case of patients who suffer from malocclusions or structural problems that require treatments or procedures outside of the dentist’s scope of expertise, another type of dental specialist may be recommended, such as an oral surgeon, a maxillofacial surgeon or an orthodontist. People whose teeth require realignment will typically be referred to an orthodontist.
How Are Orthodontists Trained?
Orthodontists must first complete dental school to become dentists and then attend a full-time residency program focusing solely on orthodontics for an additional two to three years following dental school. These programs provide the opportunity to treat and analyze hundreds of orthodontic cases under the close supervision of highly skilled and experienced specialists. This extended, specialized training prepares the orthodontist to treat all types of malocclusion cases, while also training him or her to recognize the differences in conditions and recommend appropriate treatment options.
What Should I Do Next?
If you live in Charles County or St. Mary’s County, Maryland and think you might need to see an orthodontist, contact our Waldorf or Leonardtown office to schedule a consultation with our experts at Sequence Orthodontics.