Orthodontics is a dental specialty that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of improper bites and crooked teeth. Orthodontists use special appliances, such as braces or clear aligners, to align and straighten teeth. This helps patients achieve beautiful smiles. These devices are worn over your teeth and can be adjusted over time as your teeth shift.
Problems to Watch for in Growing Children
Malocclusions ("bad bites") like those illustrated below, may benefit from early diagnosis and referral to an orthodontic specialist for a full evaluation.
In addition, if you notice any of the following in your child, check with your orthodontist:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty chewing or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Jaws that shift or make sounds
- Speech difficulties
- Biting the cheek or the roof of the mouth
- Facial imbalance
- Grinding or clenching the teeth
Final treatment decisions should be made among the parent, the child’s dentist, and the orthodontist.
What Is an Orthodontist?
Orthodontists are doctors who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontists are specially trained to realign and straighten teeth, as well as fix misaligned jaw structures.
Many general dentists offer orthodontic treatment to their patients, but orthodontists receive additional training after completing their dental degree. This specialized training allows an orthodontist to effectively diagnose and treatment plan for more complex orthodontic issues.
Orthodontists diagnose, prevent, and treat issues such as crowding, spacing, crossbites, overbites, open bites, deep bites, underbites, crooked teeth, impacted teeth, and even TMJ disorders. Because orthodontists complete years of specialized training and continued education, they are the most qualified professionals to treat orthodontic problems.
The Right Time for an Orthodontic Check-Up
The right time for an orthodontic check-up is no later than age seven. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children get a check-up with an orthodontic specialist before they turn seven.
- Orthodontists can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present.
- While your child's teeth may appear to be straight, there could be a problem that only an orthodontist can detect.
- A check-up may reveal that your child's bite is fine. Or, the orthodontist may identify a developing problem but recommend monitoring the child's growth and development, and then, if indicated, begin treatment at the appropriate time for the child. In other cases, the orthodontist might find a problem that can benefit from early treatment.
- Early treatment may prevent or intercept more serious problems from developing and may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated. In some cases, the orthodontist will be able to achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing. Early treatment may give our orthodontist the chance to:
- Guide jaw growth
- Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
- Correct harmful oral habits
- Improve appearance
- Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position
- Create a more pleasing arrangement of teeth, lips and face
- With an early orthodontic evaluation, you'll be giving your child the best opportunity for a healthy, beautiful smile.
If your child is older than seven, it's certainly not too late for a check-up. Patients differ in both physiological development and treatment needs. The orthodontist's goal is to provide each patient with the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time.
Visit the American Association of Orthodontists website at mylifemysmile.org
What Are Braces?
Traditional metal braces are an excellent way to correct the alignment of your teeth, and there are many different types of braces available. Our dentist will work with you to determine the right configuration for your unique smile.
Metal braces are the most common type of orthodontic appliance used to align teeth. They are made from high-grade stainless steel and are custom-fit to your bite. These braces use ligatures and archwires to apply steady force to your teeth and guide them into their proper positions. The brackets are placed onto the front of the teeth and are connected by wire to the molars.
Some patients may prefer to use ceramic braces instead of traditional metal braces. Ceramic braces are more discreet than metal braces due to their clear color, but they still work the same way. Clear plastic ties are used to connect the ceramic brackets.
What Is Invisalign/ What Are Clear Aligners?
Invisalign uses plastic trays instead of brackets and wires to slowly move the teeth into position. The trays are created specifically for your mouth using 3D imaging technology, ensuring a comfortable fit that gradually moves your teeth into place. Unlike traditional orthodontics, you can remove the aligners to eat and clean your teeth. And since they are clear, most people won’t even notice you are wearing them.
Why Choose Clear Aligners/ Invisalign?
To find out more about the dental services offered at our dental practice, call (480) 614-2211 or schedule a consultation online. You can also visit us at 12020 E Shea Blvd Suite 10, Scottsdale, AZ 85259.
- Invisalign aligners stay perfectly under disguise and allow you to talk, smile, and carry on with your everyday life as usual.
- The plastic trays do not have any sharp edges or metal components that can harm the soft tissues of your mouth.
- Invisalign aligners are removable, which allows you to take them off whenever you have to eat food, brush your teeth, etc.
- The treatment time involved with Invisalign is minimal, and patients hardly experience any discomfort due to the movement of the teeth.