Your smile plays a big role in your appearance, and it also has a big impact on your self-confidence and self-esteem. Located right in the middle of your face, your smile is one of the first things people notice about you. It’s not surprising, then, that having a beautiful smile and healthy-looking teeth can have a major bearing on your self-image and a big influence on your self-esteem. If you have crooked teeth or your teeth are crowded or out of “alignment,” seeing an orthodontist is the best way to correct those issues so you can feel great about your smile — and confident about the impression you’re making on others. As a leading orthodontics practice near Tempe, Arizona, Dunn Orthodontics offers state-of-the-art orthodontic treatment for teens as well as adults to help every patient improve their smile and their oral health. If you’ve been wondering if a Tempe orthodontist can help you get a great-looking smile, here’s what you need to know.
What do orthodontists do?
The word “orthodontist” literally means “straight teeth,” and that’s a major part of what an orthodontist does — straighten teeth. But that’s not all a Tempe orthodontist does. Today’s orthodontics also help correct poorly aligned bites, so patients can avoid serious issues like temporomandibular joint disorder. To do their work, orthodontists use braces or clear aligners like Invisalign® to gently coax teeth into their proper positions. Tempe braces use brackets and wires to move teeth, while aligners use subtle differences in shape to bring teeth into alignment.
When we think of orthodontics, we tend to think of the cosmetic benefits of treatment — giving us the beautiful smiles we want. That’s an important benefit of orthodontic treatment. But orthodontics can also help improve oral health, and it does it in two important ways:
- First, having your teeth straightened makes it easier to remove bacteria and plaque that can lead to cavities and gum disease. When your teeth are crooked or crowded, there are lots of odd angles and tiny spaces between and around your teeth. It’s not easy for toothbrushes and floss to reach these tiny crevices, and that means they become harbors for bacteria, sticky plaque and hard tartar deposits, primary causes of tooth decay, gum disease and even tooth loss. By straightening your teeth and correcting overcrowding problems, your brushing and flossing habits are a lot more effective in removing bacteria and plaque, so you can reduce your risks of cavities, gum disease, infections and tooth loss.
- The second major way orthodontics could improve your oral health is by optimizing your bite mechanics. Our jaws are designed to “work” in a specific way, and when our teeth aren’t properly lined up, it can cause excess strain in one or both jaw joints. That strain can lead to inflammation inside the joint, and over time, you can develop chronic jaw pain, headaches and TMJ. An unbalanced bite also contributes to uneven tooth wear, which in turn increases your risks of cracks, cavities, tooth breakage and tooth loss. Orthodontics "rebalances" your bite and improves your bite mechanics, so all these risks are reduced.
What kinds of problems can an orthodontist treat?
Our team uses the most advanced techniques and technology to treat the broadest array of problems, including:
- Open bites
- Crowded teeth
- Crooked teeth
- Gaps between teeth and other spacing problems
- Teeth that emerge out of alignment, like in the upper gum area
- Bite alignment issues
- Other problems affecting your smile or your bite mechanics
Many people have more than one orthodontic problem, like crowded teeth combined with an overbite. Our team customizes each patient’s treatment plan to ensure the best results, even in complex cases.
What’s the best age for my child to see the Tempe orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists says children should ideally have their first orthodontist visit by their seventh birthday. That because by age seven, most kids are getting ready to lose their baby teeth and adult teeth are getting ready to emerge. It’s also a time when your child’s jaw is undergoing rapid growth. As a result, it’s a good time for the Tempe orthodontist to identify early signs of crowding and alignment problems, and to initiate treatment to help reduce their impact. Interventional treatments, like spacers and expanders, may help reduce the amount of time your child needs to wear braces. In some cases, having interventional orthodontics may even eliminate the need for braces later on.
Of course, many kids don’t visit the Tempe orthodontist until their preteen or teen years, and that’s OK. The bottom line: Be sure to schedule a consultation visit as soon as possible so your child can begin necessary treatment right away.
Can’t I get the same results with mail-order aligners?
Mail-order aligners are tempting to many people, because they don’t require regular Tempe orthodontist visits and they’re usually less expensive than regular orthodontic care. But there’s a saying: You get what you pay for. And when it comes to your oral health, it’s definitely not a good idea to base a care decision on its cost. Orthodontic treatment is a lot more complex than you probably realize. When braces or aligners move your teeth, they’re moving the whole tooth, including the root. Since the root is embedded in your jaw bone, as the root moves, the bone surrounding it must continually “remodel” itself to make room. Bone remodeling is a major biological process, and if something goes wrong inside your jaw during treatment, there’s no way to “see” it on your own. Having those regular, monthly visits to our office is the only way to keep an eye on your progress and to check for issues that need to be fixed so they don’t turn into major problems. Considering the results of orthodontic treatment last for life, it’s definitely not a good idea to leave your treatment (or your results) up to a teledentistry option. Professional orthodontic care is an investment in your future. Investing wisely gives you the best results along with greater peace of mind.
Choose a top orthodontist in Tempe, AZ
At Dunn Orthodontics, we want every one of our patients to have a beautiful smile. Our team is committed to providing the custom care and individualized treatment each patient needs and deserves to enjoy a lifetime of beautiful smiles. If you’re ready to find out how orthodontics can help you or your child, give us a call at 602-864-0004 and schedule an appointment at our Tempe, AZ, office today.