When To See Your Orthodontist: A Simple Guide

You may need to visit your orthodontist if you have one of several irregularities with your teeth or gums, although most of us know to visit our dentist regularly for more general oral issues. If you need your teeth straightening and Invisalign or a similar, simple procedure won’t tackle the problem, or if your bite alignment is causing you discomfort, then an orthodontist may be the answer.

Orthodontics addresses the issue of a bad bite (malocclusion) although there are various other reasons that you may need the expertise of an orthodontist:

  • If your lower jaw is extended out over the upper jaw (underbite).
  • Upper jaw extends out over the lower jaw too far (overbite).
  • Upper teeth sit inside your lower teeth (crossbite).
  • Your teeth don’t have enough room to erupt, a condition known as crowding.
  • Missing teeth or too much room between your teeth, which is a spacing problem.
  • A lack of overlap between the upper and lower front teeth (open bite).
  • Lower teeth not extending far enough or upper teeth extending too far (upper front teeth protrusion).
  • Misalignment of the back teeth (midline mismatch).

The two most common reasons to visit an orthodontist are for crowding and spacing. A specialized treatment or further assessment may be called for by an orthodontist if it’s a condition that your dentist can’t take care of, although most routine check-ups at your regular dentist will alert you to any misalignment issues.

Why See a Specialist

Orthodontists in Edmonton can help when something is beyond the scope of your regular dentists, such as extremely crooked teeth, occlusion (the contact between teeth) or a bad bite. Some general dentists do offer Invisalign or other orthodontic techniques, but more serious issues require a visit to a specialist.

An underbite, overbite, or teeth with gaps between them can be treated effectively by Invisalign, which is a much more appealing solution than having to wear a brace. Your dentist will probably suggest you visit an orthodontist for something more complex or more advanced treatment. And because the teeth of younger patients are still changing, they may need to see an orthodontist instead of their regular dentist, making age a big deciding factor.

Types of Orthodontic Procedure

Other types of treatment designed to correct various issues with the jaws or teeth are offered by orthodontists, although most of us assume that fitting braces are one of the most requested services. An orthodontist can help you with these services:

Traditional braces. Elastic and wire links together metal brackets placed on individual teeth, which move teeth to the desired position.

  • Ceramic braces. These remade from transparent ceramic, but otherwise the same as traditional braces.
  • Damon braces. Instead of elastic, a slide mechanism that is self-adjusting is used to connect the wires.

Palatal expanders. If your alignment problem is severe, you may need a palatal expander to move your teeth apart, instead of Invisalign or another removable aligner to help with overcrowded teeth. Other treatment methods such as braces can be used effectively after the jaws have been realigned this way, and in some cases extracting the affected teeth is an option.

Forsus appliances. These move the jaw into the desired position by means of springs attached to the braces against the inside if the cheeks. A severe underbite or overbite can be corrected this way.

Braces can be used to move the teeth into their desired position after the jaws have been aligned into position over several months. Crowding in the mouth may prevent the wearing of braces at first; they can only be comfortably and safely worn after some time spent with palatal expanders. And to ensure the teeth stay in their correctly aligned position, removable aligners may be needed after braces have been worn.

When To See Your Orthodontist

It’s important to identify any alignment issues in the mouth as soon as possible, and for that reason, it’s highly recommended that children should be checked by an orthodontist sometime before they reach the age of 7. Early checkups and treatment can not only identify any issues that need to be addressed by orthodontics but can also identify those issues that are caused by certain behavior, such as sucking the thumb. These habits can prevent the jaw and teeth from growing healthily, and early intervention can help to prevent any problems in later life. The overall appearance and structure of the teeth can be monitored through regular visits to the orthodontist, ultimately leading to healthy jaw growth and healthier teeth.