Orthodontics focuses on correcting misalignments of the teeth, jaw structure and face. In order to become an orthodontist, a dentist must undergo and additional 2 to 3 years of ADA-approved advanced studies. Orthodontists commonly address a variety of misalignment issues associated with malocclusions (uneven bites) and/or teeth that are crooked. In cases where the jaw bone requires realignment, an oral surgeon is usually called in to assist the orthodontist.
An orthodontist will help to:
- Develop a confident, beaming smile;
- Terminate speech issues caused by crooked or protruding teeth;
- Treat and manage TMJ symptoms;
- Decrease the probability for future tooth decay;
- Reshape misaligned jaw bones in adult patients;
- Help the jaw bone to develop fully in children so that adult teeth will have room to grow in unobstructed;
Many parents question when the best time is to bring their children to an orthodontics specialist for evaluation. Most orthodontists agree that this should be done when the child is between 5 and 7 years old; specifically after the permanent teeth have begin to grow in. This is when teeth crowding, under/overbites and other issues can be observed by the doctor.
Roughly ¾ of a child’s growing is complete by 10 years of age. It’s best to begin working with an orthodontist early so that the doctor can observe the child’s evolving facial features. This enables a solid strategy to be developed for correcting any misalignment issues. The goal of the orthodontist is to first ensure that the mouth is in proper working order, and then to address any appearance challenges that may be present. If parents wait until their children are teenagers to consult with an orthodontist, their facial bones may be so set and hard already that an oral surgeon’s services are required.
If you or your child seem like good candidates for the services of an orthodontist, then you should call and schedule an initial visit. Only by analyzing your mouth can the orthodontics doctor determine the best strategy to help you meet your smile goals.