You’ve probably heard about orthodontics on television, heard mention of it from a friend or acquaintance or maybe you’ve seen ads online. However, what do you actually know about this particular type of dentistry?
Yes, an orthodontist is a dentist who recommends and installs dental braces, but there is much more to it than that. We’d like to explain the basics of orthodontics in a simple, straightforward manner by answering a few of the most common questions we hear in our practice. Perhaps this will give you a better idea of what it is all about.
What is Orthodontics?
According to MedicineNet.com, Orthodontics is: “The dental specialty that is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of dental deformities as well as irregularity in the relationship of the lower to the upper jaw.” Put simply, orthodontics takes care of how the jaws and teeth work with each other--such as when teeth are crooked, misaligned or otherwise irregular.
What’s the Difference Between an Orthodontist and a “Regular” Dentist?
Even when you are seeing an orthodontist about an alignment or another issue, you’ll still see your regular dentist. The orthodontist only deals with these specific dental issues, not with teeth cleanings, fillings, crowns, toothaches and things of this nature. Additionally, while all orthodontists are dentists, not all dentists are orthodontists. However, most orthodontists are incredibly busy handling their specialty that they simply pass the routine dentistry tasks on to a general dentist. All orthodontists do an additional two-three years of residency post dental school with the learning strictly geared towards creating beautiful smiles and perfect bites. General Dentists do not have these qualifications, although some general dentists do some minor orthodontic work. Dr. Laster did a three year residency in Orthodontics at UNC-Chapel Hill and does dozens of hours of continuing education on orthodontics every year allowing him to bring the most advanced techniques to his practice including SureSmile, Propel, and Custom Aligners that he designs and 3D prints himself.
Why is Orthodontics Important?
When teeth and the jaws are well-aligned, they are healthier. Crooked and misaligned teeth are more likely to experience a number of issues down the line that will need to be corrected through drilling, root canals, crowns, extractions and even surgery. In a way, orthodontics can be looked at as a form of preventive medicine. Plus, in some cases, there can be a loss of self-confidence associated with misaligned or crooked teeth, and orthodontics can help with that too.
Who Does Orthodontics Help?
Many people think of orthodontics as being something geared towards teenagers. After all, the “standard” patient pictured in the movies or on television is a young teen wearing braces. Yes, the teenage years are a common time for orthodontists to recommend braces. But, many adults who either didn’t wear them when they were young or didn’t follow proper protocol find that they require treatment as an adult. Many adults can be treated with clear aligners, Invisalign, or cosmetic braces. Dr. Laster also specialized in accelerated treatment for adults.
With more options than ever, adult patients are very common. Plus, many problems aren’t “typical” and may be the result of an accident or injury.
When Should Someone Seek an Orthodontics Consultation?
Most people who seek an orthodontics consultation do so at the recommendation of their primary dentist. However, if you feel self-conscious about a dental issue, there is no reason not to contact an orthodontist on your own. It could be a good first step towards making a big change in your life. Dr. Laster offers a no risk, free consultation. He will examine your teeth, discuss your situation with you, and talk about pros and cons of various treatment options, possibly show you similar cases to yours, and help you decide if treatment is right for you and what type of treatment would suit you best.
What Are the Benefits of Orthodontics?
The benefits of orthodontics are hard to measure and vary from patient to patient. A few of the most commonly cited included:
- Improves self-esteem
- Enhances overall dental health
- The orthodontist works with the general dentist to create a long-term plan of action
- Can help patients of all ages
- Technology has improved to where not all devices are highly noticeable
Orthodontics is an exciting area of dentistry and one which is still growing and changing. That means that even patients who felt that there may have been no solution for their problems even a few years ago are finding affordable, convenient results today. THAT, above all else, really is what makes orthodontics so incredible.
At Laster Orthodontics, we help families develop healthy, life-changing smiles using customized treatments, cutting-edge technologies, and caring relationships. Our individualized treatment plans help our patients achieve their perfect smile in the quickest, most painless way possible by utilizing a wide range of options from traditional braces to Propel accelerated treatment to Dr. Laster's in-house aligner program, Laster Perfect Smile. With three locations throughout the Triangle Area, we create life-changing smiles every day.