Orthodontists offer a variety of different services that dentists normally do not perform. This includes improving the appearance of the teeth, increasing a patient's ability to bite and chew, and correcting other imperfections with the teeth and jaws. These are some of the procedures that an orthodontist might specialize in.
Straightening the Teeth
One procedure that orthodontists most commonly perform is straightening the teeth. This is done by installing braces on the teeth and then customizing special retainers for patients to wear once the braces have been removed.
The type of braces a patient has installed depends on the severity of the condition of the teeth. Certain types of braces are made for only mild straightening and others are made to straighten even extremely crooked teeth.
Correcting the Bite
When a patient has an improper bite, this can cause major problems with biting and chewing food if not corrected.
Having a condition such as an overbite, underbite, crossbite or open bite may require having braces or other types of dental appliances installed on the teeth to correct.
Closing Gaps Between Teeth
Some patients may have straight teeth, but may also have tiny noticeable gaps between certain teeth. This problem may or may not require the need for braces depending on how wide the gaps are. Gaps in teeth may be closed with teeth bonding, dental veneers or by wearing partial braces or retainers.
The teeth may also come in misaligned with the mouth and this often becomes worse as the person ages. Often this problem can only be corrected with braces. However, if the condition is mild, it may be possible to correct it with dental veneers or crowns.
Orthodontists also commonly treat patients who have overcrowded teeth. This condition occurs when extra teeth come in that the natural dental ridge cannot support. The orthodontist may send the patient to a dentist or oral surgeon to have the extra teeth extracted. Afterward, it may be necessary for the orthodontist to apply dental bonding or capping to give the remaining teeth a more natural appearance.
While going to the dentist regularly is necessary to keep the teeth in their best condition, there are certain services that require the training and knowledge of an orthodontist. Most orthodontists and family dentists work as a team to ensure their patients have healthy teeth and a beautiful smile they are happy to show off to the world.