What is orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontic treatment commonly uses fixed or removable braces to treat misalignment of the teeth or jaws, or sometimes both. Common problems that are corrected by an orthodontist include:
- Crooked teeth
- Protruding front teeth
- Cessation of habits, like thumb sucking and correcting the bite once this has stopped.
Another key aspect of orthodontic treatment is managing the development of the teeth. This means making sure all the teeth are present, in the right location at the right time, and developing normally. If not, then an orthodontist will often make recommendations or plan treatment to ensure development is normal.
Things to consider before seeking orthodontic treatment
- The nature of the problem
some orthodontic issues are better treated early, and others later. For instance, thumb-sucking habits and crossbites are better managed as early as 8 to avoid less desirable permanent effects on the teeth and bite.
- The impact of the problem on your child’s overall wellbeing
for example, if a problem like protruding teeth is having a negative impact on a child’s self-esteem (e.g. not smiling, bullying at school, feeling self-conscious) - then this can be treated as early as 8 years old.
- Your child’s dental health
before starting any orthodontic treatment, it is essential the teeth and gums are healthy. If the orthodontist identifies an issue at your child’s examination, they refer to the dentist/ therapist to stabilise his/her oral health before starting any orthodontic treatment.
- The cooperation of your child
do you think your child will be able to complete the whole orthodontic timescale without undue stress to them, or damage to the equipment? Some children will find it harder than others to adapt to orthodontic treatment.
At Happy Kids Dental an orthodontist will always carry out your or your child’s treatment.
Orthodontics is a speciality within dentistry. You trust your heart to a cardiologist; your skin to a dermatologist; similarly, you should trust your child’s teeth alignment to a specialist orthodontist.
An orthodontist will have initially attended university to qualify as a dentist, and worked as a dentist for a few years too. He/she would then have attended an internationally recognised three-year programme to gain academic and clinical training to specialise as an orthodontist.
A consultant orthodontist is a term used in the UK. Here, they would have trained for an additional two years to gain further experience in the management of more complex orthodontic problems that often require multi-speciality input.
The American Association of Orthodontists and the British Dental Association recommend that children should have their first consultation with an orthodontist no later than the age of 7. By then, a child will have a mixture of primary and permanent teeth and the orthodontist will be able to recognise a misalignment at an early stage.
However, if your child is younger than 7 and you have concerns about the alignment of their teeth, consider scheduling the appointment earlier - your orthodontist will be able to advise the best solution for your child.
If your child is 8 or older, consider having their bite checked by an orthodontist.
Both orthodontists and dentists are trained professionals who work with teeth and oral health, but they have different areas of specialization.
Dentists are trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of oral health problems, such as cavities, gum disease, and tooth infections. They also provide preventive care, such as regular checkups, cleanings, and x-rays, and can perform cosmetic procedures like teeth whitening and veneers.
Orthodontists, on the other hand, specialize in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of misaligned teeth and jaws. They are trained to correct malocclusions, which are problems with the way the teeth fit together when the jaws are closed. This can involve using braces, aligners, or other orthodontic appliances to straighten teeth, correct bites, and improve overall oral health.
In short, while both dentists and orthodontists work with teeth and oral health, dentists focus on general dental care and treating a broad range of issues, while orthodontists specialize in correcting misaligned teeth and jaws.
It is important to see an orthodontist for teeth straightening treatment. Orthodontists are specially trained and qualified to diagnose and treat misaligned teeth and jaws. They have a deep understanding of the mechanics of tooth movement and jaw growth, and can develop individualized treatment plans that take into account each patient's unique needs and goals.
While some general dentists may offer orthodontic treatment, they do not have the same level of expertise and training as orthodontists. In some cases, their lack of training and experience can lead to ineffective or even harmful treatment.
Additionally, orthodontists use a wide range of specialized tools and techniques to achieve the best possible results for their patients. They are equipped to handle complex cases and can offer a variety of treatment options, such as traditional braces, clear aligners, and lingual braces, rapid maxillary expanders and so on to meet the needs and preferences of each patient.
Overall, if you are considering teeth straightening treatment for your child, it is important to consult with an orthodontist to ensure that you receive the best possible care and achieve the best possible outcome.
Experience is important when choosing an orthodontist because orthodontic treatment is a complex process that requires a deep understanding of the mechanics of tooth movement, jaw growth, and facial development. Orthodontic treatment is not just about straightening teeth, but also about improving overall oral health and function, as well as enhancing a patient's facial appearance.
In addition, an experienced orthodontist is better equipped to anticipate and manage any complications or issues that may arise during treatment. They have the training and expertise to make adjustments to the treatment plan as needed to ensure the best possible outcome for their patients.
Finally, an experienced orthodontist has a proven track record of successful outcomes and patient satisfaction. They have built a reputation in their community based on their expertise, skill, and commitment to providing high-quality care.
Like any medical or dental procedure, orthodontic treatment has the potential to go wrong. However, with proper diagnosis, treatment planning, and skilled execution by an experienced orthodontist, the risks of complications or negative outcomes can be minimized.
Some possible complications or negative outcomes of orthodontic treatment include:
- Tooth decay or gum disease - Orthodontic appliances can make it more difficult to clean teeth properly, which can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay or gum disease if proper oral hygiene practices are not followed.
- Root resorption - In rare cases, orthodontic treatment can cause the roots of teeth to shorten, which can result in tooth loss.
- Relapse - Teeth can shift back to their original position after orthodontic treatment if proper retention measures are not followed.
- TMJ disorders - In rare cases, orthodontic treatment can make temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders worse.
It is important to note that these complications or negative outcomes are relatively rare and can often be avoided with proper diagnosis, treatment planning, and careful execution of the treatment plan. Patients can also help minimize the risk of complications by following their orthodontist's instructions for proper oral hygiene, regular check-ups, and wearing retainers as prescribed.
Orthodontic treatment can take a significant amount of time because it involves gently and gradually moving teeth into their proper positions, which requires the application of controlled forces over an extended period of time. The length of treatment can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the case, the age of the patient, and the type of orthodontic appliance used.
Some of the reasons why orthodontic treatment can take so long include:
- Biological factors: Teeth move slowly and require time to adapt to new positions. The process of orthodontic treatment involves the gradual movement of teeth by applying light, continuous forces that allow bone to remodel and new bone to form around the teeth.
- Age of the patient: Younger patients require shorter treatment times than older patients because their jaws are still growing and developing and are malleable.
- Complexity of the case: The length of orthodontic treatment can also depend on the severity of the orthodontic problems being corrected. More complex cases, such as those involving significant bite problems or jaw discrepancies, may require longer treatment times.
- Compliance: Patient cooperation and compliance can also affect the length of orthodontic treatment. Poor oral hygiene or failure to wear orthodontic appliances as directed can lead to treatment delays or complications.
Finding the right orthodontist can be an important decision, as it can impact your oral health and overall well-being. Here are some steps you can take to find a qualified and experienced orthodontist who meets your needs:
- Ask for referrals: Ask your dentist, family members, friends, or colleagues for recommendations of orthodontists they have used and had a positive experience with.
- Research online: Look for orthodontists in your area using online directories, such as the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) website. You can also read online reviews and check the orthodontist's website for information about their education, training, and experience.
- Check credentials: Look for an orthodontist who is licensed and board-certified by the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO). This indicates that they have completed a rigorous training and examination process and have demonstrated a high level of expertise and skill in the field.
- Schedule a consultation: Once you have narrowed down your list of potential orthodontists, schedule a consultation with each of them. During the consultation, ask about their treatment philosophy, experience with similar cases, and any concerns you may have about your treatment.
- Consider cost and insurance: Orthodontic treatment can be costly, so it is important to consider the cost of treatment and whether your insurance covers orthodontic care. Many orthodontists offer payment plans or financing options to help make treatment more affordable.
Overall, finding the right orthodontist requires some research and consideration. By taking the time to find a qualified and experienced orthodontist who meets your needs, you can feel confident in your decision and achieve the best possible outcome for your orthodontic treatment.
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