WHY AN ORTHODONTIST?
WHEN TO SEE AN ORTHODONTIST
If you recognize any of these signs or concerns in your child or yourself, it might be time to schedule a consultation with an orthodontist.
- You want a beautiful smile
- You feel a great smile will improve your self-esteem and self-confidence
- You want the best for your family
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty chewing or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Sucking the thumb or fingers, or other oral habits
- Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
- Jaws that shift, make sounds, protrude or are recessed
- Speech difficulty
- Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
- Protruding teeth
- Teeth that meet in an abnormal way or don’t meet at all
- Facial imbalance or asymmetry (features out of proportion to the rest of the face)
- Grinding or clenching of teeth
- Inability to comfortably close lips
WHAT IS AN ORTHODONTIST?
There are three steps in an orthodontist’s education: college, dental school and orthodontic residency program. It can take 10 or more years of education after high school to become an orthodontist. After completing college requirements, the prospective orthodontist attends dental school. Upon graduation, the future orthodontist must be accepted* as a student in an accredited orthodontic residency program, then successfully complete a minimum of two academic years of study. The orthodontic student learns the skills required to manage tooth movement (orthodontics) and guide facial development (dentofacial orthopedics).
• Only those who have successfully completed this formal education may call themselves “orthodontists.”
• Orthodontists limit their scope of work to orthodontics only.**
• Orthodontists are uniquely qualified in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of orthodontic problems. They dedicate their professional lives to creating healthy, beautiful smiles in children, teens and adults. Well-aligned teeth are more than attractive: they make it possible to bite, chew and speak effectively. Orthodontic care is often part of a comprehensive oral health plan.
• Orthodontists use a variety of “appliances,” including braces, clear aligner trays and retainers, to move teeth or hold them in their new positions. Because of orthodontists’ advanced education and clinical experience, they have the knowledge and skills necessary to recommend the best kind of appliance to meet every individual patient’s treatment goals.
• Only orthodontists are eligible for membership in the American Association of Orthodontists.
*On average, there are about 15 applications for every opening.
**Unless they have also completed specialty education in another dental specialty recognized by the American Dental Association.
ORTHODONTICS IS A SMART INVESTMENT
A healthy bite and good looking smile is as important at age 60 as it is at age 16. Even though adults are no longer growing, they can also enjoy improvements that come from orthodontic treatment. Your age is not a consideration for orthodontic treatment. Healthy teeth can be moved at any age.
Orthodontic treatment is a smart investment in your family, your smile, as well as your dental, physical and emotional health.
A variety of orthodontic “appliances” are available today, thanks to on-going research in orthodontics. Options include traditional metal braces, tooth-colored braces, braces that go behind the teeth, clear aligners and other devices, as appropriate. Check with your orthodontist about the best way to achieve your treatment goals.
Comfortable and efficient, today’s orthodontic appliances also contribute to a stable, long-lasting result.
While the appliances used in orthodontic treatment have come a long way since orthodontics became dentistry’s first specialty in 1900, what endures is orthodontists’ desire to help you achieve your healthiest bite possible.