What is an Orthodontist?

Is an Orthodontist Different from a Dentist? Orthodontics is a specialty field in dentistry. An orthodontist must complete an additional three years of education after becoming a dentist. They gain clinical experience because they are required to complete a residency program. The responsibilities of an orthodontist include the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The exact services provided are dependent on the individual orthodontist.

orthodontist check up patient

A general dentist often refers patients to an orthodontist due to their advanced education, training, expertise, and skill regarding specific dental issues. Orthodontists are regulated by the American Association of Orthodontists to ensure the practitioner is well educated in both biomechanics and oral biology. To help prevent irregularities in the teeth and jaws, children should consult with an orthodontist when they are seven years old.


What Does an Orthodontist Do?

The question of what is the job of an orthodontist is dependent on each practice. One of the most common services offered is braces. The most common types of braces include Damon, metal, and ceramic. Damon braces are classified as a self-litigating appliance. They do not use the traditional brackets for tightening and making adjustments. A slide mechanism is used to attach the brackets to the wires for a more natural movement while the teeth are realigning.

Damon braces achieve results faster, look better, and are more comfortable than traditional braces. The teeth are moved gradually without excessive pressure. The brackets are clear, nearly invisible, and offer a more pleasing appearance. The patient does not need to visit the orthodontist as often for adjustments. There are also fewer areas for bacteria and plaque to build up, resulting in better oral health. Damon braces are often recommended for severe crowding.

Ceramic Braces and Metal Braces

Ceramic braces are often recommended as an option to metal braces. They were introduced in the 1980’s as a less visible option. They are extremely tough and are difficult to stain. Ceramic braces are made from either tooth-colored ceramic or semi-translucent ceramic brackets. They blend in extremely well, are high quality and will not break unless severely abused. Clear ligatures are used to keep the archwires in place. Ceramic braces are popular because they are difficult to see and will realign the teeth properly.

The most common type of braces is metal braces. They are more comfortable, flatter, and smaller than in the past due to newer technology. Metal braces are made of either high-quality titanium or stainless steel and are comprised of three parts. The brackets are bonded to the surface of the teeth to keep them in place. The archwires are made of thin metal and connect to the brackets. This provides the pressure required to move the teeth into the correct positions. The rubber bands are called ligature elastics and hold the brackets and archwires together.

The orthodontist will recommend the correct type of braces for each patient based on their individual needs. When the question what is the job of an orthodontist is asked, one of the main answers is they provide braces to realign the teeth of their patients.

How to Become an Orthodontist

The Invisalign Option

One of the newer options for straightening teeth is called Invisalign. This changes the concept of what does an orthodontist do a little because Invisalign was not available in the past. This is a custom-made aligner designed to be interchanged approximately twice each month. The length of time they are required depends on the severity of the misalignment but is generally six to eighteen months. Invisalign is a lot like a mouth retainer because it prevents teeth from shifting incorrectly.

A mold of the patient’s teeth is used to computer generate a clear aligner. Each fitting is customized to the patient. Invisalign is extremely convenient for straightening teeth because they can be easily removed for eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing. The aligners are transparent making them nearly invisible to the human eye and there are no metal brackets. They are extremely gentle for the gums, cheeks, and mouth because there are no sharp edges.

Invisalign is not appropriate for all patients and an appointment with an orthodontist is required to establish suitability. Invisalign is appropriate for gapping teeth, overcrowded teeth and mild bite issues including open bites, crossbites, underbites, and overbites.

Additional Orthodontist Services

There are numerous services an orthodontist can provide that a dentist cannot. This puts the question is an orthodontist different from a dentist to rest. One of these treatments is for anteroposterior deviations. This includes when the positioning of the bottom teeth are forward farther than the upper teeth. This is referred to as an underbite.

An overbite is an exact opposite and both conditions can make chewing and make speaking clearly difficult. Treatment for either of these conditions requires an orthodontist. One of the most common issues treated by an orthodontist is called overcrowding. This means there is not enough space on the jawbone for the teeth to erupt in alignment with the other teeth. There are different treatments and devices an orthodontist uses to realign the teeth correctly.

Once the teeth have been properly realigned, the orthodontist usually provides the patient with a retainer. This ensures the teeth do not start moving into the original positions. Once the underlying bone is in the right position, the retainer is no longer necessary.

Aesthetic Issues and Treatment Recommendations

A bad bite or malocclusion can have a negative impact on the shape of the entire face. The teeth, lips, and jaw must be restructured by the orthodontist to ensure the patient is left with an even and beautiful smile. The orthodontist usually begins each case with a consultation. This starts with a thorough examination of both the teeth and jaws.

The orthodontist has bite impressions and panoramic x-rays taken before making any recommendations regarding treatment options. The plan recommended is based on the best possible treatment for the specific issues of each patient. A good orthodontist understands all the treatment options available for every condition, remains current on the latest treatments and devices, and has the skill and experience necessary to ensure the correct actions are taken with each patient.

There are a lot of people embarrassed to smile due to a dental issue. These issues can be corrected by scheduling an appointment with an orthodontist. Do not wait any longer and make an appointment now. This will place you firmly on the path to a lovely smile and more self-confidence.

Call McDermott Orthodontics to Schedule Your First Appointment

You can live a happier life by having your teeth straighten to correct your bad bite. Dr. Michael McDermott offers professional orthodontic evaluations at four locations in Minnesota that are located in these cities:

• Brainerd – 218-829-1630
• Delano – 763-972-4444
• Pequot Lakes – 218-568-5600
• Baxter – 218-829-1630

At McDermott Orthodontics, our orthodontist offers a variety of treatments that include:

• Retainers – to keep teeth in the proper positions
• Aligners – designed using Invisalign computer software
• Braces – ceramic, Damon System and metallic devices

Call McDermott Orthodontics today!

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What is an Orthodontist?