Orthodontics is a field of medicine that is mainly used by someone who has developed a dental problem. It is rare to find someone visiting an orthodontist for preventive measures. However, most problems with tooth alignment can be effectively dealt with if found out in time.
By understanding the problem one experiences on their teeth alignment and the roles of this specialist, you will be able to answer the question — why visit an orthodontist? Each of these will be explained in the text below, together with reasons to visit an orthodontist even when you don’t have dental problems.
Problems Experienced with Tooth Alignment
They are discussed below:
- Overbite – This is a jaw-related problem where the upper jaw extends out. A person with an overbite may be uncomfortable when the lower teeth bite into the hard palette on the upper jaw.
- Underbite – This condition occurs where the lower jaw extends out. Here, the lower front teeth sit in front of the upper front teeth. Both underbite and overbite cause difficulties in chewing.
- Open bite – The upper and lower jaw of someone who suffers from an open bite are unable to make physical contact when the jaws are closed
- Spaced teeth – The space between teeth is known as a diastema and it is common among children and a number of adults. However, it becomes an issue when it compromises one’s oral hygiene. This is especially where food particles accumulate in these gaps.
- Crowding – The crowding of teeth occurs where the jaw does not have enough space to accumulate all the teeth. It is mainly caused by the early or late loss of primary teeth, genetic imbalances between teeth and the jaw sizes, and random eruption of teeth.
- Midlines misaligned – The midline of one’s teeth is the center of the two incisors that divide the teeth in half on either jaw. This condition occurs when the midline of the upper and lower jaw are not in line with each other.
Each of these conditions may affect the aesthetics of one’s face. This arouses the need for prevention or treatment.
The Roles of an Orthodontist
Orthodontists are concerned with the alignment of teeth and guiding proper development of the facial structure. They do this by straightening teeth and improving bites. The latter is done by correcting how the jaws line up and how the teeth fit together.
They first begin by getting x-rays of the alignment of jaws or by making plaster molds of the patient’s jaws. These thorough examination of the jaws and facial muscles are necessary to identify the exact problem. The dental records of the patient also give the orthodontist more information on the patient’s mouth.
Afterward, by using braces, aligners, headgear, and other appliances, they provide the face with enough force to make the teeth move. The choice of appliance depends on the condition of the patients.
An orthodontist is supposed to insert the appliance into the patient’s mouth then adjust it to fit and be comfortable in the patient’s mouth. After fitting, the patient will be expected to visit the orthodontist to have the appliance cleaned and adjusted.
What Braces Fix
Braces are the most common appliances that are used for the alignment of teeth. There are different designs of braces, and they can be fitted at the front of the teeth where they are visible or at the back where they cannot be seen.
Invisalign is a type of braces that are designed to blend in with the teeth. The material used to make it is clear, but it is more susceptible to discoloring from food stains. These braces, therefore, require regular replacement than the others. They are used to maintain aesthetic value where the patient is self-conscious about the appearance of the braces.
Some of the problems that can be fixed by braces include overcrowding and protrusion. These appliances should be adjusted every few months as they become loose when the teeth move back into place. You should, therefore, see your orthodontist regularly to have them adjusted.
When treating an overbite using braces, a patient goes through a two-stage process. In the first stage, the metal brackets that are fastened on a patient’s teeth are connected with a metal wire. This combination provides enough force to straighten and align the teeth.
In the second stage, the focus shifts to treating the overbite. Here, rubber bands, springs, and coils are added to the braces to shift your jawline into place, hence treating the overbite.
The main weaknesses associated with the use of standard braces include difficulty with maintaining dental hygiene and their opaque property. Food particles may accumulate around and behind braces, causing decay. On the other hand, their lack of transparency may cause a change in aesthetic appearance. However, Invisalign solves both these issues, as it is transparent and removable, hence allowing you to brush and floss your teeth easily.
Why Visit an Orthodontist Even without Dental Problems?
The importance to visit an orthodontist cannot be emphasized in enough, particularly for kids. Any issues with jaw and teeth alignment can be detected before they happen. Therefore, corrective measures can be taken to ensure that as he grows, his teeth grow correctly without misalignment. This prevents your child from experiencing any form of teasing from peers due to his teeth.
The reasons to visit an orthodontist as an adult are the same as those of a child. Any potential bite issues can be detected before they are manifested. Orthodontists can identify such problems before they occur, subsequently saving you a lot of time and costs in the future. Moreover, you can avoid bite problems such as difficulties in chewing, cleaning teeth, and effects on the quality of your smile.
Therefore, ensure that you visit the orthodontist regularly for early detection of any bite issues.
Problems with jaw and teeth alignment are common, and they include overbites, under bites, and midlines misaligned, among others. Orthodontists specialize in these issues, and they use various methods for the detection and correction of alignment issues. The most common method used in teeth alignment and straightening is the use of braces. Braces can also be used to correct bites using the two-step method mentioned above.
It is of critical importance to visit an orthodontist regularly to take preventive measures against some of these issues. This is especially important for kids whose teeth are yet to erupt fully. So if you haven’t had the chance to visit an orthodontist yet then best to contact and schedule an appointment now or as soon as possible.
I Don’t Have Any Dental Problems: Should I Still Visit an Orthodontist?