Orthodontists and Your Family Dentist
Your family dentist may recommend orthodontics work, or braces, for your child or even adult patients on occasion. Orthodontics work focuses on correcting malocclusions, or improper bites, for both cosmetic and oral health reasons. There are several methods for this corrective work, including traditional brackets and metal wires, plastic aligners such as , and the more technologically-advanced Suresmile system, which uses robotics and 3D imaging to speed the process. In addition to these dental appliances, your Raleigh family dentist or orthodontist may also suggest the use of headgear, plates and other components to create a more perfect occlusion. There are several things that parents of children undergoing orthodontic work and adults wishing to correct a malocclusion should know about the process; here are some of the most important.
- Orthodontists Versus Family Dentists – Though your Raleigh family dentist may also be an accredited orthodontist, a specializing orthodontist does not typically perform general or family dentistry work. Should your Raleigh family dentist refer you or your child to a specializing orthodontist, visits to them should not be considered regular checkups by a general dentist. You should maintain your regularly scheduled appointments with your family dentist during the period you are under your orthodontist’s care, in such situations.
- The Commitment Factor – Though there are now orthodontic options that include “invisible” braces on the inside of teeth, customizable color options for brackets and wires on the outside of teeth and a wide array of devices that bear little resemblance to the traditions braces most of us remember, one thing hasn’t changed: compliance is key. Orthodontic treatment generally requires a commitment of one to three years, perhaps longer in more severe cases. In order to ensure great, long-lasting results, patients must be dedicated to using any rubber bands or additional appliances, following the instructions of their orthodontist or family dentist and keeping all appointments. This compliance, in addition to ensuring that your results last a lifetime, can also prevent extended treatment periods.
- Dietary Limitations – Your orthodontist will give you a detailed list of the goods that you shouldn’t eat, or those that require special preparation in order to be suitable for your dental appliances. Depending on the method of straightening and the type of orthodontic appliances that will be used, these foods can vary. Though it can be frustrating to limit your diet during the course of treatment, adhering to the guidelines set forth by your orthodontist or family dentist is an important part of ensuring that your orthodontics treatment stays on schedule.
- Discomfort – There have been great strides in orthodontic treatment in recent years, meaning that the soreness and tenderness that previous generations experienced have been significantly reduced. However, the process of correcting malocclusion is not completely without discomfort. Most of this tenderness is restricted to the first few weeks after application, and can be treated with a saltwater mouthwash paired with over the counter pain reliever. Irritation to the lips, cheeks and tongue during the first two weeks can be reduced by the application of wax that cushions the fragile surfaces of the mouth until it becomes accustomed to the new braces inside it. Additionally, it’s normal for teeth to feel a bit loose during the beginning of treatment, as they’re being repositioned by the orthodontic appliance.
Because the options and methods for orthodontic correction are so varied and customizable, your orthodontist or a family dentist is the best source of information about the upkeep and proper care for your new orthodontic appliances. With the help of your orthodontist and a strong commitment, you’ll be on your way to a flawless smile in no time!