The dental field is one that is broad with several specializations. One of the most common and most well-known is orthodontics. This option within specialty dental services focuses on helping patients improve their oral health by correcting their bites, straightening their teeth, and addressing occlusion issues.
Differences Between Dentists and Orthodontists in Atascocita, Texas
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 general dental 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.
Braces for Adults
At Splendid Dental Atascocita, our board-certified orthodontists will customize your braces to ensure they align your teeth properly. You will need to have your braces tightened every few months, but any jaw soreness will only last a day or two after your appointment. How long you will need to wear dental braces depends on the severity of your dental misalignment; however, it typically ranges from six months to a few years. It is important to begin orthodontic treatment as soon as you begin to notice the signs a dental alignment issue, including:
- Overlapping teeth
- Overcrowded teeth
- Gaps between teeth
Orthodontic treatments are more effective when you quickly address the problem right away. Early dental intervention also decreases the total amount of time you will need dental braces. This is the case for adults, teenagers, and children. After getting your braces, your orthodontist may decide to have you wear a mouth guard while you sleep. This will help keep your teeth aligned and straight. It is likely you will need to have a new retainer made every few years.
Find the Orthodontic Services 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: