What to Know About Visiting an Orthodontist

What to Know About Visiting an Orthodontist

It isn’t uncommon for people to think dentists and orthodontists are the same. While they both work with teeth, they are certainly not identical professions. An orthodontist can diagnose misaligned teeth, jaws, overbites, occlusions and overcrowding, then creates a treatment plan that repairs these dental issues. Dental complications like overbites, underbites, and crossbites can worsen and become even more problematic over time. A person may consider meeting with an orthodontist, like an orthodontist in San Clemente, CA, for more information about how to address these complications.

Q: Does a dentist refer someone to the orthodontist?

A: In many cases, a dentist may recommend their patient to see an orthodontist if they have teeth that can benefit from some degree of straightening. It is the job of the orthodontist to assess your teeth and examine the structure of the mouth and gums that are in overly close alignment. Depending on what the issue is, an orthodontist may suggest pulling teeth closer together or extracting extra teeth to create more space. 

Q: In what ways may an orthodontist address misaligned teeth?

A: Braces are the most common solution to misaligned teeth. An orthodontist applies bands and brackets on the surface of the teeth which, over the course of time, results in straightening. Another option a patient can consider is an aligner, which does not involve metal, wires, glue, or brackets. For more severe cases, an orthodontist may suggest a patient uses a palate expander, which widens the upper jaw arc to give teeth more space. 

Q: What will an appointment with an orthodontist be like?

A: Your session with an orthodontist is likely to be similar as if you were going to see a dentist. You may wait in a medical office until you are called into an exam room. If you were referred by your dentist, the orthodontist will probably already know information about the misalignment of your teeth. The most common issues orthodontists see are overbites and underbites. After an exam, the orthodontist can make a recommendation for the best way to correct the problem. 

Q: How many treatments or visits may I need before I see results?

A: The treatment plan and how soon a patient sees results depends on his or her issue and the severity. If you get braces, you may need to see your orthodontist regularly for one to four years. The milder the case, the faster your issue can be resolved. After applying the braces, your orthodontist can give you a schedule for how often he or she needs to check that the braces are working as intended.

Q: If I know I have overcrowding, should I still meet with my dentist first?

A: It isn’t required that you meet with your dentist first, as you can search for reputable orthodontists in your area and request an evaluation. Unfortunately, some professionals in the oral health field put profit before the health of the patients. Be sure to ask plenty of questions and even compare prices before you settle on the right orthodontist for you. 

Thanks to John Redmond Orthodontics for their insight into what you need to know before visiting an orthodontist.