Orthodontists are qualified Dentists who have an additional two to three years of education and specialized training in tooth movement and the guidance of facial development. Orthodontists work as a team with your Dentist to maximize your smile and improve your dental health.
You or your child may be referred by your Dentist to an Orthodontist if:
An orthodontic appliance is prescribed based on a patient's age and his or her teeth and jaw alignment needs. There is a wide range of available orthodontic appliances. Each appliance has several techniques for treatment use. While dental braces are the most universally known, only your Orthodontist can prescribe the appliance and restorative technique that is right for you.
The most commonly known orthodontic treatment is braces: an orthodontic appliance used to straighten teeth and correct bad bites. Braces can be prescribed for teens, adults, and children who have permanent teeth. They may be used in conjunction with other orthodontic appliances prescribed to widen the palate or jaws or to shape the teeth and jaws. The average treatment time for braces is just over two years, but treatment time varies by the individual patient.
Fixed braces are worn 24/7. Only an Orthodontist can remove fixed braces.
Several types of fixed braces are available.
Removable braces (sometimes called aligners) are prescribed when teeth only need to be moved horizontally and the patient is highly motivated to follow a strict regimen. Removable braces are worn 24/7 except for time eating and drinking, or brushing and flossing. This means that patients must be diligent about replacing their removable braces several times each day. If removable braces are worn less than required, treatment time will be longer.
After reviewing your dental x-rays and performing a thorough exam of your teeth, gums, supporting bone structure, and any pre-existing dental work, your Orthodontist will recommend a treatment plan and answer your questions. If your agreed-upon treatment plan is for traditional braces:
During the first week after being fitted with braces, or after having your braces adjusted by your Orthodontist, your teeth may hurt. This generally subsides within a week. Typically, discomfort can be managed with the use of an over-the-counter analgesic used according to the package label.
After the recommended treatment period, your Orthodontist will remove the braces and give you a retainer to wear for a prescribed time. The retainer helps keep your teeth from moving back to their original position.