What Does an Orthodontist Do?

What Does an Orthodontist Do?

If you didn’t ever have the opportunity to fix dental issues, you may be unsure of what type of dental specialist to see for your particular issue. If you have a general dentist, they may be the first one to ask. However, if you do not see your dentist on a regular basis, here is an outline of what an orthodontist can do for you.

An orthodontist possesses the same education as a dentist; however, they are required to take an additional two years of classes in order to practice orthodontia. Orthodontists often work with children and teens, as well as adults who seek solutions to issues from crooked teeth to aligning your jaw to correct your bite. Seeing an orthodontist, like an orthodontist in San Clemente, CA, as a young child is a good idea to prevent or correct potential issues in their bite and jaw as they grow and develop.

What exactly can an orthodontist treat?

  • Alignment of the Jaw and TeethHow your teeth are aligned and fit together inside your mouth is called the occlusion. If there is a problem, it is called malocclusion. This condition is used to describe several issues including an overbite, underbite, crossbite, or a midline that is incorrect. If you are diagnosed with malocclusion you may have difficulty biting, chewing, and eating. You may even notice that you sometimes bite the inside of your mouth or frequently bite your tongue. Malocclusion can also affect your speech. An orthodontist can address these situations and offer treatment plans that may include braces, expander appliances, reshaping your teeth where necessary, and oral surgery.
  • Grinding Your Teeth — The medical term for clenching or grinding your teeth is “bruxism.” Constant or excessive grinding can cause the enamel on your teeth to get worn down and affect other aspects of your mouth’s health. Often, you do not even realize you are grinding your teeth as it often occurs while you are sleeping. This can be diagnosed in your dentist’s office and an orthodontist can work to manipulate your teeth and jaw (usually with braces). You will often be asked to wear a mouthguard at night to prevent your upper and lower teeth from rubbing together. 
  • Teeth Protrusion — This usually occurs as a result of a severe overbite where the upper jaw protrudes over the lower jaw so much that it causes the bite to be uneven and inconsistent pressure on your teeth. Protruding teeth can also make it hard to close your lips. Most types of protrusion are addressed using various types of braces, but treatment may also include the use of other orthodontic appliances.
  • Space Between Teeth — Spaces between your teeth, too many teeth, or other spacing issues can be the culprit for different types of issues with your dental health, while already possibly affecting your self-esteem and appearance. It can be harder to brush and floss with crowded or crooked teeth. Large gaps between teeth can make you more susceptible to gum disease or injury. Braces or other orthodontic appliances can be used to straighten the teeth, lessen gaps and crowding while making it easier to brush and floss.

See an orthodontist today if you think that you could benefit from orthodontic treatment. 

Thanks to John Redmond Orthodontics for their insight into the different dental issues that an orthodontist can help correct.