Orthodontists specialize in the treatment of malocclusions and misaligned teeth and jaws to help enhance the appearance of the mouth. Their services revolve primarily around the application of braces and clear aligners. However, they also have a variety of treatments and procedures for both aesthetic and functionality purposes.
At All Star Orthodontics, our experienced orthodontist provides treatment for various conditions and application of teeth-straightening appliances such as braces and clear aligners. Our team works with you to determine the smile you want and help you achieve it. To learn more about a procedure or schedule an appointment, call 360-799-3466 today.
What is an Orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist who works exclusively in the diagnosis, prevention, and correction of malpositioned teeth and jaws, and misaligned bite patterns. Many orthodontists can work on modifying facial growth or dentofacial orthopedics. They are able to recognize certain deficiencies in the oral cavity and implement safe practices required before ensuing orthodontic treatment.
Orthodontists may also provide cosmetic dentistry services, including bonding, porcelain veneers (laminates), crowns (caps), and gum grafts. Cosmetic dentistry involves dental work that improves or enhances the appearance of teeth, gums, and/or jaw. Since dental aesthetics pertaining to appearance, orthodontists can often treat patients for various other dental conditions before initiating orthodontic treatments.
What An Orthodontist Does
Certified orthodontists tend to focus on tooth and jaw adjustments, providing a variety of services that are intended for that purpose. While some orthodontists work primarily with one age group, our office services patients of all ages with applications suitable for each patient. According to Healthline, orthodontists can:
- Supervise facial growth (jawline and bite) in children
- Diagnose and treat misaligned teeth and jaws (malocclusion)
- Create a treatment plan that includes braces and retainers
- Perform teeth straightening surgery
- Install dental appliances, such as braces, palatal expanders, orthodontic headgear, or Herbst appliances
General Dentist v. Orthodontist
Upon completing a graduate dentistry program, orthodontists undergo extensive training in their field through a residency program. This program is a total of four years - two years in the classroom and two years working with real patients in a licensed dental school. To be a board-certified orthodontist, they must complete an additional 2 to 3 years in an orthodontic residency program to betrained specifically in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.
A general or family dentist focuses primarily on basic oral health needs, such as routine cleanings, deep cleanings, and fillings. They can work with patients of any age and help them maintain their oral health. An orthodontist focuses on dental conditions affecting the alignment of the teeth, bone, or jaw. Patients are typically referred to an orthodontist by a general dentist.
Conditions That Require an Orthodontist
Patients whose teeth do not develop properly during childhood can be subjected to malocclusions or crooked and misaligned teeth. This can affect the shape of the mouth and face and cause a variety of oral health complications. According to Medical News, malocclusions are often the result of injury to the teeth or facial bones and frequent thumb or finger sucking. Malocclusions can affect eating, speaking, and maintaining oral health if left untreated.
Besides helping with grinding, clenching, and clicking of the jaw, orthodontic treatments help treat conditions such as:
- Protruding front teeth
- Impacted teeth
- Asymmetrical teeth
- Deep bite and overbite
- Reverse bite
- Open bite
- Spacing and gaps
Schedule a Visit Today
An orthodontist is available at our office. The All Star Orthodontics team looks forward to treating you and helping you achieve the smile you have always wanted. Call our office at 360-799-3466 to learn more or schedule an appointment.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontists
When should I see an orthodontist?
It is recommended to see an orthodontist when experiencing symptoms such as consistent jaw pain, apparent misalignment of teeth, trouble chewing and biting into foods, or difficulty when speaking. Many times, early signs are detected by a general dentist before being referred to an orthodontist for evaluation. If you feel pressure from crowding or spacing issues, we advise getting a check-up and evaluating your options.
What questions will an orthodontist ask me?
During the initial consultation, we ask patients for their medical and dental history and discuss possible risk factors, previous dental work, and current oral health status. We may ask you questions about any concerns you have about your teeth, smile, and appearance and what you would like to achieve. We will also ask your preference for appliances that are applicable to your case and discuss treatment options.
What happens during orthodontic consultations?
During the first visit, we will discuss the patient’s health history and current status. We will physically examine the mouth and teeth and take full X-rays, panoramic or digitally-scanned depending on the type of treatment. The scan is sent to a lab to create the appliance of choice, which is then fitted during the following appointment. Appliances are generally ready after 2 to 3 weeks.
What do orthodontists specialize in?
Orthodontists can both treat and improve oral health. They focus primarily on correcting bites, occlusion, and the straightness of teeth. They can also provide services related to cosmetics such as teeth-whitening treatments and the application of dental veneers, crowns, and bridges.
Can I have braces if I still have untreated cavities?
It is possible to have orthodontic treatments, including braces, with untreated cavities as the two are most often linked. An orthodontist can recommend the order of treatments and will likely create a treatment plan that addresses all of the patient’s concerns. In most cases, we will attempt to treat all minor issues prior to braces treatment.
What age range do orthodontists treat?
Every orthodontist will have specified age ranges that they treat. The most common age range for orthodontic treatment is 9 and 14, as patients in this range have most of their permanent teeth and are still developing. We do not recommend orthodontic treatments for patients under 6 or over 50 because of weakened bone or developing teeth can become more damaged from dental trauma.
A modern type of orthodontic appliance, clear aligners apply gentle pressure to the teeth to create a straighter, better-aligned smile. These aligners are considered by most to be more aesthetically pleasing than traditional braces and can be more hygienic as well. Although they are relatively simple to use, patients often have questions about what to…
Palatal expanders are used to widen a patient’s palate (the roof of the mouth), creating more space for their top set of teeth. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends bringing your child in for their first bite assessment by the time they reach seven.At this stage in their development, their bite should be established enough…
If you are in the market for a new smile, you may be faced with the dilemma of which to choose –– Invaslign® or the traditional metal braces.Traditional braces are the most common type of orthodontic treatment for all ages. While they may be effective in straightening the teeth, some may consider them an unattractive…
For many patients, clear aligners are the obvious answer for adjusting teeth and correcting bite dysfunctions. When your teeth are crooked or if you have other issues with your smile, there is a different strategy other than metal braces. Aligners are not only less visible than braces, but this treatment can also be more comfortable.To…
Many people do not know the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist. The confusion is understandable especially because both work on teeth. But it is beneficial to know how to tell the difference between them. When you have a problem with your teeth, jaws or gums, it is important that you schedule an appointment…