What is Orthodontics?


If you’ve heard the term ‘orthodontics,’ then there’s a good chance you’re like most people in that you don’t know too much about the field — other than that it has something to do with teeth. 

That in mind, we have some tidbits and some information on what this field entails and why you may want to consider a career in this industry or even make use of experts in the field for your own reasons. 

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at what the term means. 

It Can Be a Cosmetic Form of Dentistry

To keep things as simple as possible, an orthodontist essentially works to enhance a person’s teeth by altering the angle, the shape of the teeth or making changes to bite and the jaw to better enhance their smile and the function of their teeth overall.

You may be interested to know that experts in this field also work to assist in the prevention of the wearing down of both teeth and gums too, which means you’re able to rely on these professionals for restorative dentistry as well as purely cosmetic. 

For those of our readers who have uneven bites or jaw issues, your orthodontist may also be able to help correct these issues through alterations in the locations and angles of the teeth to adjust the jaw. 

The Treating Physician 

As you may have guessed, a dentist will typically work to treat patients with specific needs relating to their teeth. 

However, an orthodontist will have enhanced and prolonged training in this field which ensures they are able to work more effectively with patients who have rather niche or complicated teeth and gum care requirements. 

Your provider will essentially work with you from the outset to examine your teeth through both x-rays as well as close-up photography. This media will then be used to better understand the appearance of your smile and your bite and disclose if there are issues with either of these — you will then move forward to treatment. 

What Occurs During Treatment

Once you have undergone your initial consultation, you will then move forward to the selected treatment that works best for you. 

In most cases, this means either clear aligners like Invisalign or traditional braces, or other treatments that involve the correct of the jaw and bite. 

A few common issues that be dealt with through this process include the correction of: 

  • Crooked Teeth
  • An Overbite
  • Over Jet
  • Cross Bite 
  • Spacing and Crowding

The process of treatment runs through various stages where your provider or dentist will take a look at how your teeth or jaw moving and whether there are further alternations to your treatment requirements to garner the results you’re looking for. 

This process is typically broken into a set of phases where you’ll see your braces, aligners  or other treatment processes changed and adjusted and your progress monitored over time. 

You will sometimes see the use of expanders used to widen your palate, and the use of braces to level and align your smile into an ideal location. 

From here there will then be the correction of bite and closure of teeth. The final stage involves the finishing of the teeth where you will have your smile fine-tuned to be more aesthetically pleasing. 

The Hygiene Factor 

To end, during the entire process of smile or bite enhancement there is a focus on keeping a close eye on oral hygiene and any issues with plaque build up and other common issues.

You will be suggested to have your routine dental checkups and cleanings during the time you’re undergoing treatment for cosmetic reasons. 

This will assist in reducing your risk of tooth decay, cavities, gingivitis and other common dental issues during your treatment with aligners or braces. 

When it comes to oral hygiene with braces, for example, your hygienist or dentist will let you know a correct technique when it comes to cleaning correctly when there are wires (from your braces) in the way of your teeth. 

The Takeaway

With all of the above said, it’s clear to see that a lot goes into the field of orthodontics that goes beyond just cosmetic needs and through to the correction of jaw and bite issues as well as potential issues that come with crooked teeth — such as cleaning difficulties. 

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