What Do Orthodontists Do?
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of an orthodontist? Chances are, its braces. If you haven’t visited an orthodontic office lately, you may be picturing the silvery metal brackets that run straight across an adolescent’s smile. If that’s the case, here’s some information that may surprise you: Orthodontists do much more than place those traditional braces on the teeth; braces themselves don’t necessarily look like they used to (in fact, you may have trouble seeing them at all); and more and more of today’s orthodontic patients aren’t adolescents.
Types of Orthodontic Problems
Orthodontic misalignments, called malocclusions, can indicate a number of different conditions. Inherited malocclusions include jaw growth problems, congenitally missing teeth, extra teeth, crowded or protruded teeth and spacing problems.
Reasons to See an Orthodontist
– Sleep apnea, mouth breathing and snoring
– Speech impediments
– Tooth decay and gum disease
– Problems chewing and eating
– Thumb or finger sucking
– Popping or clicking jaws
– Overlapping or crowding teeth
– A developing under bite, protruding front teeth
Why See an Orthodontist
Crooked or crowded teeth, as well as overbites and underbites, can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss. That’s because overlapping teeth can be tough to clean.
A bad bite also can cause problems when chewing and talking. Not to mention too much wear, grinding, and clenching.
Orthodontics has come a long way over the years. Primitive but well-designed orthodontic appliances have been found with Greek and Etruscan artifacts, Rogers says.
Clear ceramic or porcelain brackets debuted in the 1970s. In 1999, Invisalign was introduced. It’s a series of clear trays that fit in the mouth and are changed every two weeks. Other tray aligners include ClearCorrect; Simpli5; and Red, White, and Blue.
Today, some braces are may be nearly invisible. Some have clear or tooth-colored brackets. Others are attached to the lingual (back side) of your teeth.