The dental field is one that is broad, with several specializations. One of the most common — and most well-known — is orthodontics. This dental specialty focuses on helping patients improve their oral health by correcting their bit, straightening their teeth, and addressing occlusion issues.
Differences Between Dentists and Orthodontists
There are many similarities between dentists and orthodontists. Both professionals are focused on providing their patients with access to good oral health. However, they approach this goal in different ways.
A dentist focuses on oral hygiene and offers services related to that goal. Some of these include addressing gum disease, tooth decay, and root canals. An orthodontist, on the other hand, provides services that address alignment issues. Left untreated, conditions such as crowded teeth, an underbite, misaligned teeth, and an overbite can cause serious oral health problems.
All orthodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are also orthodontists. While both dentists and orthodontists undergo the same initial training, an orthodontist has additional education and training so they can help patients address tooth alignment issues, fitting them with corrective devices, and improving the way their teeth work together.
Orthodontics: Much More Than Braces
When many people hear the word “orthodontics,” they immediately think of dental braces. While braces are the primary service that comprises orthodontics, it is far from the only one:
- Braces: Brackets, bands, and wires are the main components of braces. These are installed on the teeth and tightened over time so that the patient’s alignment becomes straighter. Today, there are various types of braces in addition to traditional metal ones, including clear aligner trays and clear ceramic braces.
- Palatal expander: A palatal expander is a specialized plastic tray that fits on the roof of the patient’s mouth. Through the use of screws, this expander pushes the joints and bones of the upper jaw outward to widen its curve.
- Repositioning Appliances: Splints are jaw repositioning appliances designed to help the jaw close in a more natural way. Often used for patients with a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), they can move either the upper or lower jaw.
- Space maintainers: Many people celebrate when baby teeth are lost since they are a rite of passage. However, if they are lost too early, the patient’s other teeth can grow into the space that baby teeth leave behind. With the addition of space maintainers secured to the surrounding teeth with a band and a wire, this space is kept open until the permanent teeth can erupt and fill it.
- Bumpers for cheeks and lips: Every patient’s face and oral cavity are different from others. In some cases, their cheeks and lips can press on the teeth. The result is a feeling of discomfort or even pain. Using cheek and lip bumpers keeps them away from the teeth while reducing the pressure, discomfort, and pain this can cause.
- Headgear: For some patients, a jaw that is growing too quickly can compromise their oral health. Headgear prescribed as part of an orthodontics plan can help slow that growth to a more manageable level. By taking this step, the orthodontist can ensure that the teeth and the jaw fit together as intended. In most cases, the headgear consists of a metal wire positioned in front of the mouth and attached to a strap that goes around the patient’s head.
Find the Orthodontics You Need at Splendid Dental Atascocita
No matter the orthodontics you or someone in your family needs, Splendid Dental Atascocita can help. Not only do we offer the orthodontic services mentioned above but also several other specialty dental services such as:
For more information about how orthodontics can help you and your family attain the beautiful and functional smile you’ve always wanted, contact Splendid Dental Atascocita today at 832.430.7652.