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orthodontics-101

Orthodontics 101

Some of the language around dentistry is difficult to understand. Especially when it comes to the specializations. Dentist is easy enough. Cosmetic dentistry feels like cheating because most people have a handle on what the word “cosmetic” means. What about endodontics and orthodontics, though. In what world is it apparent that endodontics has anything to do with root canals. (Don’t worry, this isn’t an article about root canals.) It is an article about orthodontics, though… whatever that means.

Most people have a pretty good sense that orthodontics has something to do with braces and straightening teeth, but some of the details beyond that can be a bit murky and intimidating. At East Chestermere Dental, we believe that one of the most effective weapons against anxiety and uncertainty is information. This article is filled with information about orthodontics.

What is orthodontics?

The word orthodontics comes from the Greek words orthos (meaning straight and correct) and odon (meaning tooth). Orthodontics involves straightening misaligned teeth and resolving overcrowded teeth using a variety of tools such as braces, aligners, lingual braces, ceramic braces, space maintainers, palate expanders, headgear and retainers.

When should a kid see an orthodontist?

It’s tempting to not take a child to an orthodontist until there’s some sign that orthodontic work might be necessary. Tempting as that is, it’s not recommended. If orthodontic treatment in Chestermere might be required, it’s easier and more cost effective to get it underway when the patient is as young as possible while mature enough for the necessary improvements to be made. The ideal time to take a child to an orthodontist is at the age of roughly seven years. That’s the point when his permanent teeth are beginning to come in and potential future orthodontic issues will be beginning to emerge.

Orthodontic work is possible at any age and older people shouldn’t ignore the need to visit an orthodontist. But for parents wondering when to introduce their child to an orthodontist near you, aim for your child’s seventh birthday-ish.

What can you expect during an orthodontics appointment?

Orthodontist appointments begin like any other appointment with a dentist in Chestermere. The orthodontist will examine your teeth from the perspective of identifying what treatment options will achieve the goal of straighter and more consistently spaced teeth. In almost all cases, making that assessment will mean taking x-rays and even impressions to understand where your present teeth are located and how your future teeth are developing.

How long does orthodontic treatment last?

No two orthodontic patients are identical which means that no two treatment plans are identical. It’s impossible to answer this question specifically in isolation, and impossible to give anything other than very general estimates. For the sake of an estimate, though, most orthodontic treatment plans last for between 18 and 24 months depending on the type of treatment being provided.

In some cases, though, orthodontic treatment never ends. Because teeth have a natural inclination to return to their original positions even after being shifted to their proper positions with braces or some other treatment, many people will wear a retainer after a treatment plan is complete. People who straighten their teeth with Invisalign, for example, are recommended to wear a retainer overnight for the rest of their life to maintain their perfected teeth.

Does orthodontic treatment in Chestermere hurt?

Shifting teeth into new positions against their natural inclination and even through bone tissue can cause some discomfort sometimes, there’s no denying that. For most people, that discomfort is very temporary and only serious enough to be distracting. When the discomfort is more intense, over the counter pain medication is usually enough to deal with it. An orthodontist treating you or your child will always do everything possible to minimize any discomfort.

Do you have any questions about orthodontics near you? If you want to discuss any issues that haven’t been touched on here, reach out to a dentist near you to arrange for an initial consultation and conversation.