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An orthodontist is a type of dentist who specializes in straightening teeth that might otherwise might not be.

It’s common place for dentists to to fill cavities and get you to floss everyday, however an orthodontist can help you to fix crooked teeth or misaligned jaws.

Difference Between an Orthodontist And A Dentist

While both dentists and orthodontists help patients to improve their oral well being, they go about it in different ways.

Being a dentist is a much more broad category in the medical field that handles the teeth, gums, jaw, and nerves, whereas orthodontics is a specialty set of skills that involves the correction of occupation, bites, and the straightness of teeth.

It’s important to remember that while all orthodontists are dentists, not all dentists are orthodontists.

To become an orthodontist is to study a very specific sets of skills to be considered qualified as a true orthodontist.

Obviously the similarity between dentists and orthodontists is that they both focus on oral health and hygiene.

That being said there is more differences than similarities between dentists and orthodontics.

A good way to think of it is how a doctor gets special training to become a surgeon. While every surgeon is a doctor that doesn’t make every medical doctor a surgeon.

For example if a dentist has a patient with an overbite they will commonly refer them to an orthodontist for more in depth treatment.

Orthodontists commonly help people who have crooked teeth, however they also help people with other problems as well.

Some of these problems might be underbites, overbites, spaces between teeth, crossbites, overcrowding of the teeth, and the treatment such as temporomandibular disorders (TMD).

There are also many other problems with the jaw that orthodontists commonly treat for.

To more deeply understand all the differences between a dentist and an orthodontist you can schedule a consultation with us. Or by simply giving us a call so that we can answer all of your questions.

How An Orthodontist Helps For Kids

Orthodontists can greatly assist with straightening out teeth as well as aligning the jaws to create a bright smile and keep teeth healthy.

Something people don’t realize is that having better quality teeth and a better aligned jaw actually helps you to chew food easier. Again not something that a typical person even considers when thinking about their oral well being.

Getting the right treatments can even help if you are a loud snorer. Not only are you bettering your own life but the others around you that you spend the most time with.

Kids see orthodontists for a multitude of reasons including, overlapping or crowding teeth, as well as having problems with jaw growth and tooth progression.

Tooth and jaw problems can come from many different sources that are completely dependent on a persons circumstances.

Some examples might include losing baby teeth too soon, tooth decay, negative behavior such as thumb sucking, or even a simple accidents.

Just when you thought accidents with your kid were bad enough, now they can also cause tooth and jaw problems?? Unfortunately yes. But fortunately there are plenty of ways to fix these situations.

Like many other medical issues these problems can also be genetic and run in the family just like any other form of abnormality.

Luckily there isn’t really a set age for kids, or even adults for that matter, where they absolutely must see an orthodontist.

That doesn’t mean that you should slack knowing that you can always get around to it whenever.

Types Of Orthodontic Treatments

In this section we’ll briefly touch on some of the most common orthodontic treatments available.

1. Forsus – Also known as the Forsus Fatigue Resistant Device, which is another option comparable to head gear that helps with growth for adolescences, this helps to avoid exaggerated overbites, improve the positioning as well as the fit of teeth, and can also help reduce the chances of needing jaw surgery later in life.

2. Elastics – These you’ve more than likely seen before. They are the little rubber bands that you see people wearing around. These are typically used to improve the fit of your upper and lower teeth. It’s very important to wear these rubber bands as instructed by your orthodontist. Improper use can render them much less effective. Stick to the game plan!

3. Herbst Appliance – This wearable is used to help reduce excessive overbites by helping the lower jaw to move forward as well as moving the upper molars backward. Typically this appliance is used in younger children who are still growing and will normally wear this for roughly 12 – 15 months.

4. Headgear – This device is used to treat patients who have overbites that they’re looking to be rid of. Headgear can work with the upper jaw being in a forward position as compared to the lower jaw, or also an underbite where the lower jaw is forward instead. What headgear can do for you is to gently “pull” on your teeth in order to prevent further forward development of your upper set of teeth and jaw.

5. Palatal Expander – This can be used to “expand” or widen your upper jaw by applying soft pressure on your top molars. This pressure is different every time an adjustment is made to the device. Your orthodontist will be right there with you to help guide and assist you with the adjustments that you should be making to the expander. At a certain point you’ll find that sweet spot where you’ll notice the expansion is just where you want it to be. At this point you will no longer make adjustments to the size. Instead you will leave the expander at the desired specifications and wear it for several months to strengthen the expansion as well as to prevent regression back to the original size.

6. Retainers – These tools are one of the staples of most orthodontist treatments. Some retainers are removable or fixed, all dependent on what is required by your dentist. The job of a retainer is to solidify your newly adjusted teeth and jaw after all of the primary straightening has been completed. You orthodontist will be able to let you know how long you will have to keep up with this retainer and when you will no longer need to use it. It’s very important to follow the use of a retainer as directed by your orthodontist so as to not experience regression of any of the progress you’ve made in your treatments.

7. Positioners – These are used to do some of the fine tuning near the end of your treatment life cycle. Designed specifically to complete the last steps of your teeth movements. Assuming that you’re using positioners as directed you can likely expect to use these for only about four to eight weeks.

8. Twin Block Appliance – This device is different from the other devices and tools we’ve gone over in this sections in that it actually involves two individual pieces. One piece is used on the upper arch and one for the lower arch, hence the “twin” in the name. These two separate pieces work together to create an advanced jaw position. This appliance is to be worn at all times, even while eating, however it can be easily removed for the purpose of hygiene and cleaning. For most patients this device is also much more comfortable than other jaw assisting appliances in that it’s made out of a smooth acrylic and uses less wires.

9. Separators / Spacers – These are small rubber circles or doughnuts that may be inserted between your teeth in order to create space between them so that your orthodontist can place bands during the next stage of treatment. Before bands are placed, these separators will be removed. It’s important to know that separators or spacers do not mix very well with things like toothpicks, floss, or sticky foods.