Most people see orthodontists as professionals who provide cosmetic treatments that help straighten teeth. However, their role in our lives is much larger. An orthodontist plays a very important part in rectifying crowded and crooked teeth, as well as under bites and overbites that can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and even tooth loss.
When to see an orthodontist?
It is important to see an orthodontist if you have a question about the quality of your bite or the alignment of your teeth. At times, problem in these areas is painfully obvious. For instance, you may have a hard time chewing, biting, or speaking, or some of your teeth may be protruding, misplaced or crowded. If this is the case, then it is time to consult a specialist. An orthodontist has all the training and special skills needed to diagnose and treat such issues.
Clenching, mouth breathing, inability to close your lips comfortably, or grinding your teeth are also signs that orthodontic treatment is required. Likewise, if your jaw makes sounds as it moves, or if you feel your jaw is shifting positions, you may be facing an orthodontic problem.
Kids and orthodontics:
Experts recommend regular visits to an orthodontist after age 7, even if the child’s teeth are in perfect shape. This is because a youngster’s jaw is still developing and can be easily molded, if required. One fine example is treating a cross-bite. A palatal expander appliance can treat a child’s cross-bite effectively because the jaw is still growing. However, if left untreated, oral surgery may be required later to correct this condition.
There are several other problems that can also be rectified through timely orthodontic treatment. For example, late or early loss of baby teeth, tongue thrusting, persistent thumb sucking, and mouth breathing. If you see your child displaying any of such symptoms, it may be time for you to visit the office.
Orthodontic treatments are successful at almost at any age — and in adults, compliance is usually not an issue. Moreover, with the availability of translucent ceramic brackets, clear aligners, and lingual braces, older people no longer have to shy away from the treatment. If the thought of metal braces clashing with your professional image worries you, make sure you ask for less-visible alternatives.
Of course, it is not only about looks. Teeth that are well aligned are also easier to maintain and clean, and less likely to undergo abnormal wear. A healthy bite keeps you from having trouble speaking and eating, and helps your projections stay healthy. However, before undergoing treatment, make sure the orthodontist you choose has the experience and qualification to handle your case. Do not settle for a clinic just because it’s close to your house or it offers attractive discounts. It is wiser to spend more money at a reputed orthodontist and enjoy healthy teeth for a lifetime than spending less on the treatment and regretting your decision for the rest of your life.