As we all know, dentists are physicians that take care of our oral health and hygiene. They perform regular checkups and cleaning while monitoring your mouth for signs of cavities and gum disease. Many dentists also perform some surgery such as tooth extractions and root canals. So how is an orthodontist different from a regular dentist?
The root of the word orthodontist comes from the Greek word orthos, which means “straight”. In turn, this type of dental profession is concerned with keeping or making teeth straight. This can include over or under bites, misaligned jaws, tooth irregularity, and the intimate relationship between jaw shape and position and tooth alignment. Perhaps the most common work of an orthodontist is the placement of braces on the teeth of growing children in order to correct their alignment.
Dental braces can represent a hideous time of childhood for many kids. Classmates are often ruthless and will mercilessly tease children that look difference. A bright, shining row of metal along the top and bottom teeth can even prevent many children from smiling and revealing their secret. In the long run, it is hard to argue with the beneficial effects of dental braces. They help the jaw remain properly aligned and can prevent problems in the future. Plus, they enhance the aesthetic aspect of teeth alignment and look better.
Dental braces are made from stainless steel. Recently, some forms of braces used by the orthodontist are made with ceramic and look better because they more closely resemble the tooth enamel. Brackets and wires within and along the braces interact with each other to move teeth into the desired position over a number of months or years. The process is slow and painstaking and can take quite a long time. There are also clear plastic liners that are used to realign teeth without betraying their presence. Sometimes these retainers can be worn only at night. There are a variety of other utensils and equipment that are used to help straighten teeth. Plates, headgear and expansion tools are commonly used in children requiring severe jaw modifications.
The decision about which type of tooth straightening apparatus to use largely depends on the level of severity that the orthodontist is trying to fix. Mild to moderate problems can usually be easily fixed over a long period of time just by wearing a retainer at night. However, some people were born with irregular jaw alignment that resulted in dramatic crookedness of their teeth. These folks will require more extensive and more expensive interventions for a longer period of time.
Long-term maintenance of dental braces may be required as a person ages. In some cases, the patient does not have to participate in any maintenance measures and the work done by their orthodontist is more or less permanent. Other patients may be required to wear a retainer at night. This is important to maintain the results of the intervention because dental braces are expensive and painful and you wouldn’t want to have to wear them again after correcting the problem.
Source by Aloysius Aucoin