What to Expect from a Goodyear Orthodontist?
Often you hear the words dentist and orthodontist used interchangeably. It’s a logical error because orthodontists are dentists. Not all dentists are orthodontists, though. An orthodontist specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of malpositioned teeth. In other words, they fix teeth that are not situated quite right. What else should you know about going to the Goodyear orthodontist?
What Makes an Orthodontist Different?
In Goodyear, Arizona, and the rest of the United States, for someone to qualify as an orthodontist, they must undergo specialized training after they complete dental school. When you see a doctor, you go to your primary care physician. If there is a specific problem, though, you are going to see a specialist like an ENT or orthopedic doctor.
The process is similar in the dental profession. Dentists graduate with a DDS or DMD from an accredited dental school. Then they have the option to continue to enter into a specialty study such as an orthodontics program. The additional training takes two to three years, and then they must pass an exam to practice orthodontics.
What Does an Orthodontist Do?
A Goodyear orthodontist diagnoses conditions like:
- Overbite - The front teeth overlap the bottom
- Overjet - The teeth don’t match horizontally
- Underbite - The lower teeth overlap the upper ones
- Occlusion - When teeth in the upper jaw sit on top of the ones in the lower jaw
- Overcrowded teeth - The teeth overlap one another
They also manage jaw misalignments that might cause a bite problem. This dental professional will identify issues in your mouth, as well, like a diastema or gap between your teeth that can continue to widen.
What can You Expect at the Goodyear Orthodontist?
The first visit to your Goodyear, AZ orthodontist, will start with a full exam. That allows the orthodontist to get familiar with your teeth, mouth and jaw. Typically, x-rays are part of the initial visit, as well.
After making a diagnosis, the doctor and staff will create a care plan to correct any orthodontic problems. For many, that will mean orthodontic appliances like braces.
What is an Orthodontic Appliance?
An orthodontic appliance is a device that helps to align crooked teeth. The most common appliance from an orthodontist is braces. Dental braces move teeth over time to fix alignment problems.
Braces use continuous pressure to move teeth a little bit at a time. As the teeth adjust to compensate for the pressure, space opens in the jawbone behind them. The bone will remodel to fill that space and secure the teeth in the new position. The orthodontist will keep “tightening” the braces until the teeth are in the right spot -- that typically takes from one to two years.
Patients will also wear retainers after the braces come off. They go on at night to hold the teeth in the proper position.
What most people consider braces is traditional metal appliances. They consist of:
- Brackets that bond to teeth
- Bands that wrap around teeth as anchors
- Spacers that fit between teeth
- Archwires that attach to the brackets and guide the movement of the teeth
There are other orthodontic appliances that can straighten teeth, though, like clear aligners.
What are Clear Aligners?
A clear-aligner treatment is a form of plastic dental braces. You might recognize them under the brand name Invisalign, although there are several brands out there.
The basic concept behind clear aligners is the same as with more traditional braces. The aligners apply continuous pressure that moves teeth. The difference is that aligners are removable. Metal braces stay in place, and in fact, the orthodontist bonds them to your teeth.
Clear aligners provide more flexibility. You can take them out when you eat, for example, or brush your teeth and floss.
Clear Aligners vs. Metal Braces
Clear aligners are the preference for most patients but not the right choice for all. The aligner treatment typically is for older patients — teen to adults, who will remember to change out the trays when the time is right.
The clear aligners are not right for all dental issues, either. In general, they work well for:
- Minor anterior spaces or crowding
- When a previous treatment starts to fail
- Single arch treatments
- Minor overjet or overbite corrections
They may not work on severe malpositioned teeth, like a significant overbite or for an imperfect dental structure, meaning teeth are missing, or there are crowns in place. They are not recommended for a patient who does not yet have their second molars or for someone who has active periodontal disease.
Ultimately, it’s up to the orthodontist to decide which appliance application is right for each patient. They will consider the age of the patient, their oral hygiene, the severity of their misalignment, and the condition of their teeth and jaw bone before making that choice.
Do You Need to See an Orthodontist?
If you have crooked or spaced teeth, overjet or overbite problems, or difficulty chewing or biting, then probably need to see a Goodyear orthodontist. To learn more about braces and other orthodontic treatment options we offer at Dunn Orthodontics, call our office at 602-864-0004 and schedule your consultation visit today.