You’ve gotten a clean bill of health from your dentist, but does that mean there are no more oral health issues that can trip you up? No. Even if your teeth are strong, it is a good idea to check with a specialist to ensure that that your teeth are aligned correctly.
What Is an Orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist. His or her job is to diagnose and treat dental issues that affect the way the teeth are aligned. Probably the most common issue is bad bite or malocclusion. The specialist uses several tools, including braces, to correctly align the teeth and the jaw bones.
Orthodontists require at least ten years of training. They study for four years as an undergraduate, four years as a graduate of dental studies, and two years as a post-graduate specializing in orthodontics.
Check-Up for a Child
A child should see an orthodontic specialist for the first time around the age of seven. By that age, he or she usually has four permanent molars and four permanent incisors. The specialist can examine these adult teeth to see if there are any indications of future problems. The sooner an issue can be identified and treated, the less time the treatment will take and the greater the likelihood that the treatment will be successful.
As discussed above, crooked teeth are also known as bad bite or malocclusion. There are several different kind of bad bites including
- under bites
- gaps between teeth
- over-crowded teeth
Many people don’t think crooked teeth warrant a visit to a dental specialist, but crooked teeth can cause problems you may not even have considered.
For instance, you may smile less than you would otherwise if you’re embarrassed about the way your teeth look. Crooked teeth may also cause cavities and infections. Food can collect between the gaps in your teeth; if your teeth are over-crowded it may be difficult to reach food particles with a toothbrush or even with floss. Correcting crooked teeth can enhance your self esteem and improve your overall dental health.
The majority of adults seen in orthodontic practices are between the ages of 26 and 44. Good orthodontic care is important for every age group, though, including senior citizens. You’re never too old to fix your teeth.
You may not thing that snoring is a big problem. If snoring is caused by a medical condition like sleep apnea – interruptions in breathing during sleep – it can be life threatening. Snoring can also cause trouble in intimate relationships if one of you snores and the other does not. If you have trouble with snoring, go to your doctor first. If he or she can’t identify the problem, make an appointment with an orthodontic specialist. Your snoring may be caused by your teeth or jaw being misaligned. It can be treated by wearing a painless plastic brace while you sleep.
What to Expect from the First Visit
Many orthodontists offer a free first visit or consultation. During this visit, you will probably undergo a procedure called a panoramic x-ray which allows the expert a full view of your teeth and jaw. He or she will also photograph you and ask you some questions about your medical history.
Once the expert has all the information, he or she will sit down with you and discuss the findings of the exam. You’ll go over any problems the expert discovered and discuss treatment options. There are some questions you might want to ask at this point, such as how long the practitioner has been in business and if they have an area of expertise within the field. You will also discuss the cost of the proposed plan of care.
Unfortunately, many insurance policies do not pay for orthodontic care. Although we now know that orthodontic work can improve your health, there was a time when people thought that orthodontic work was strictly cosmetic. Most of the insurance companies have not come around to the modern way of thinking. You may have to pay a significant amount of money out of pocket. If that isn’t workable, perhaps you can charge the cost of care to a credit card or take out a personal medical loan. You can also talk with the practice’s business office to see is they are willing to work out a payment plan.
What Is Orthodontic Treatment Like?
Because each person’s orthodontic condition varies, it’s impossible to say what type of treatment you will have. If you have crooked teeth, though, the expert will probably recommend some type of braces. Invisalign is one of the most popular braces. Invisalign is made from clear plastic that is virtually invisible when you are wearing it. This means you don’t have to worry about being self-conscious about a metal brace.
Because orthodontic treatment involves gently forcing the teeth or the jaws into a different place, it takes time. On average, your issue will take between one and three years to fix. The length of the treatment may seem frustrating, but think about how pleased you will be with the final results.
Fix Your Smile Today
Contact Gorton & Schmohl Orthodontics today to set up your consultation. There’s no reason to put off a visit to our helpful team of professionals. It is our goal to help you make the most of your smile.
When your teeth are aligned properly and your jaw is flowing smoothly, you will find more reasons to flash those pearly whites every day. Let Gorton & Schmohl Orthodontics be your partner in good oral hygiene.
Gorton & Schmohl Orthodontics
900 Larkspur Landing Circle, Suite 200, Larkspur, California 94939 415-459-8006
Dr. Jasmine Gorton, a Bay Area native, graduated from UC Berkeley with Bachelor degrees in both Integrative Biology and Social Sciences and then went on to graduate from Harvard with honors for her Doctorate in Dental Medicine.
She continued her education at UCSF with a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Growth and Development, followed by an Orthodontic Residency with a Master of Science in Oral Biology.
She is Board Certified in Orthodontics. She received the American Association of Orthodontics Award for Craniofacial Research and the Harvard Odontological Society Award for Excellence in Research. Her work on preventing decay around braces has been published in the American Journal of Orthodontics.