Just about everyone knows the orthodontist is the type of doctor who gives patients braces on their teeth. But what exactly causes patients to seek the help of an orthodontist? Dentists focus on oral health by providing preventive care and restorative treatment, while orthodontists focus mainly on repositioning and aligning the teeth and jaw. If you have concerns about the appearance of your smile related to your teeth and jaw, a visit to an orthodontist will help ensure that your issues will be properly addressed.
Teeth that are crooked, overcrowded, gapped or otherwise badly positioned is an obvious reason that many people head to the orthodontist. The technical word for crooked teeth is maloclussion, and this problem usually shows up around age 7 when children have a combination of baby and permanent teeth. Crooked teeth can be straightened with orthodontic treatment, which is a good idea to avoid badly positioned teeth causing gum disease or uneven wear on your teeth.
Another reason to see an orthodontist is an underbite, which occurs when the upper teeth are overlapped by the lower teeth. This is often a result of genetics, thumb sucking, prolonged pacifier use or bottle feeding. Braces can be applied to correct underbites.
In a similar category as underbites, patients also seek treatment for overbites, when the bottom teeth are overlapped by the top ones. This is a more common condition and can be caused by similar culprits as underbites. Orthodontic care can correct overbites, although severe cases may require surgery or extraction of some teeth.
Undergoing orthodontic treatment has some added benefits that you might not realize. Correcting spacing issues allows better overall dental hygiene because it’s easier and more efficient to clean properly spaced teeth. Better tooth positioning also promotes more even wear among the teeth, so that certain teeth aren’t subjected to extra biting force. Another outstanding benefit is improved self-esteem because you’ll be proud of your new smile. Adults and young people alike can enjoy a whole new outlook on life with their straight, beautiful smiles.