Orthodontics is a specialized practice. Few people realize that all orthodontists are dentists, yet less than 6% of dentists are trained in orthodontics. Orthodontists complete dental school, and then go on to complete a 2-3 year orthodontic residency.
Orthodontist’s expertise is in the practice of aligning your teeth and jaw. Just as you would visit a dermatologist instead of a general practitioner regarding an issue with your skin, so should you visit an orthodontist for the purpose of aligning your teeth.
Your Smile is Important to Your Health
Properly aligned teeth aren’t just a matter of vanity and first impressions. Straight teeth and an even bite go a long way towards a healthier mouth and lifestyle.
When there are no gaps between your teeth it easier to brush and floss. When your bite is correct you can chew foods more effectively, without damage to your teeth or gums. Misaligned teeth can contribute to troubles with breathing or speech. Snoring and sleep apnea are issues that can often be corrected by orthodontic treatment.
Your confidence and self-esteem are important too. First impressions do matter, and it is easier and more fun to present a smile to the world that you feel confident and proud of.
Orthodontics Require Proper Training
When you look in the mirror and smile, you’re not seeing the full picture. There are things occurring below your gum line, and within your jaw that only a trained professional will be able to spot. Your teeth may look straight and even, but your bite may still be off.
The converse may also be true. You may have what seems to be a severely crooked smile, when in truth a very simple and straightforward orthodontic treatment may effectively correct this.
Orthodontists are constantly continuing their education. Nowadays general dentists do offer some orthodontic care, with the introduction of Invisalign aligners and other treatment plans. Yet they are not fully trained in all matters of orthodontics, and when it comes to the proper alignment of your teeth and jaw it is important to receive the most professional and skilled care as possible.
When to See an Orthodontist
Orthodontic care isn’t just for teenagers and kids anymore, and we’ve come a long way since the days of chunky metal braces and headgear. There is more advanced technology available now, both with imagery and treatment options. Preventative care is important, yet it’s never too late to improve upon your smile.
It is recommended that children first see an orthodontist at age seven. Even if their teeth seem straight, and they have no complaints, it is important to seek out a specialist to observe any unseen problems. Kids at this age still have a lot of growing to do, and X-rays and a professionally trained eye can find issues that are best treated at a young age. It’s important to remember, the sooner the better. When you catch issues in the beginning stages it is easier to correct them without intense and expensive treatments.
Teenagers are still growing also, and orthodontic care at this stage still has the potential to help avoid more costly and invasive treatments in the future.
Even if you are a fully grown adult, it is not too late for effective orthodontic treatment. Teeth shift over the years, and there may be changes in the shape of your jaw and face. These things can still be effectively corrected well into adulthood with professional orthodontic care.
If you are seeking orthodontic care for yourself or your child, make an appointment today for a free consultation. We see children and adults, and enjoy helping members of our community realize the big happy smiles they desire. We serve patients all over the East Bay, from Pleasant Hill to Concord, to Orinda and Walnut Creek.