Orthodontists are dental professionals who specialize in straightening your teeth. They can help you with jaw alignment, bite problems, and misaligned or crowded teeth. Orthodontists are the only dental professionals who can provide braces and other types of corrective dentistry for adults. They don’t just treat teeth — they also help you with jaw problems that might affect your smile or speech.
Orthodontic Treatment vs. Restorative Dentistry
Orthodontists are dentists who specialize in straightening teeth. In many cases, orthodontists can work in a dental office and perform all of the same duties a dentist can, they just have additional schooling to specialize in orthodontics.
Restorative dentistry seeks to restore damaged smiles that have been affected by trauma, decay, or gum disease. This form of dentistry consists of dental services that often include teeth whitening, same-day crowns, root canal therapy, and tooth-colored fillings.
Dentists perform restorative dentistry to fix problems with tooth decay and gum disease — restoring your teeth to how they should be naturally. Orthodontic treatment and maintaining good oral hygiene can help prevent the need for restorative dentistry.
Orthodontic treatments like braces can correct bite and alignment issues caused by misaligned teeth and jaws. Those issues can cause speech and development problems without intervention. Without orthodontic treatment, restorative dentistry methods can only do so much.
Understanding Misaligned Teeth
Genetics, accidents, or poor dental hygiene can cause orthodontic problems. Some people are born with crooked teeth and jaws that aren’t aligned properly. Others have problems like malocclusion (misaligned bite), an overbite, or an underbite.
Orthodontics is a specialty that treats these types of issues by straightening your teeth and aligning your jaw so that it functions properly.
In most cases, it's a simple process that can be completed in 18 months to two years. If you have crooked or crowded teeth, your orthodontist will use braces to align them to fit together properly.
Sometimes, the mouth has too many teeth to accommodate them all comfortably.
In this case, some less important ones may need to be removed surgically before beginning treatment with braces (removals are usually done under a local anesthetic).
There are also cases where treatment with braces alone is not enough: if a person has an unusually large jaw relative to their face size (a condition called "prognathism") or if too many of their cheekbones extend further back than normal (called "retrognathia"), then jaw surgery may be needed in addition to orthodontic treatment.
Orthodontic Treatment for You
One of the most popular orthodontic treatment methods for teens and adults is Invisalign. This option works as effectively as lingual, ceramic, and traditional metal braces.
However, with Invisalign, the focus is on aesthetics as well as straightening. Here at Hillam Orthodontics, we want you to have a beautiful smile as your teeth continue to straighten, and Invisalign is a great way to achieve that.
Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment designed to be virtually unnoticeable on your teeth. Patients have their teeth digitally scanned in-office, and a treatment plan is made for them, mapping out how orthodontic treatment will transform their smile in 18 months or less.
Often, patients can straighten their smile in 1/3rd of that time, depending on the condition of the teeth, bite, and alignment. Fewer office visits are typically needed for this type of orthodontic treatment. You simply wear your aligners for 20-22 hours each day (and overnight), and by switching out the aligners each week, your teeth shift into a straight smile over time.
This option's benefit is preventing the need for restorative dentistry because you’re solving the root cause of those types of oral health problems. Crooked teeth can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, but you avoid that with a straight smile.
With other restorative dentistry options (such as teeth whitening or veneers), you will still have crooked teeth, potentially leading to future dental problems. You can avoid that while still getting a beautiful smile with Invisalign or braces.
If you want to learn more about orthodontic treatment to prevent restorative dentistry, contact Hillam Orthodontics today!
Schedule your appointment today!
If you’re looking to take the next step with your or your child’s orthodontic care, give Hillam Orthodontics a call today!