Over four million Canadians and Americans receive treatments from an orthodontic specialist to achieve a healthy, beautiful smile. While the most obvious benefit of orthodontic treatment is straight, even teeth, other benefits are just as important or even more so. If you are considering orthodontic treatment for yourself or a member of the family, you may want to learn more about this type of treatment.
Importance of Orthodontics
Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that focuses on the correction and improvement of the teeth and jaws, particularly among individuals who have problems with alignment. In most societies, crooked teeth are considered less than ideal and are properly corrected by an orthodontist. Orthodontic treatment can help improve a patient’s confidence and self-esteem, as successful treatments help correct teeth, lips, and jaw issues. These corrections are aimed at promoting a more pleasing, symmetrical appearance.
Orthodontic treatment also helps prevent problems associated with misaligned teeth. Because crooked teeth are difficult to clean, they are more susceptible to tooth decay, chewing difficulties, bone destruction, gum disease, and even digestive problems. Malocclusions or bad bites can also lead to speech problems, chipped teeth, tooth loss, and dental injuries.
The Role of the Canadian Association of Orthodontists
The Canadian Association of Orthodontists is an association of qualified professionals of orthodontic specialists. The organization aims to advance the practice of orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics for the improvement of public health by providing quality care and promoting the successful orthodontic practice.
What is an Orthodontic Specialist
An orthodontics Edmonton specialist or orthodontist is a doctor of dentistry who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of facial and dental irregularities. To be able to practice, an orthodontist must complete a four-year graduate program in a school accredited by the Canadian Dental Association. He/She must complete a two to three-year residency program focusing on orthodontics in a CDA-accredited school thereafter. The advanced training includes studies in embryology, genetics, biophysics, and human growth and development. Only when dentists have completed this specialty education can they be considered orthodontists.
Benefits of Orthodontics
A straight, healthy, and beautiful smile is just one of the many benefits of orthodontics. When the lips, teeth, and jaws are properly aligned, the smile does not only look great; it is also likely to be healthy. Straight teeth have better functionality and are easy to clean. They also promote self-esteem and confidence – psychological benefits that are considered the top treatment goal of patients who see an orthodontist. An even, beautiful smile is one of the best physical assets that anyone could have and it is just the beginning. Achieving good oral health is the first step to one’s overall health and well-being.
Malocclusion refers to the misalignment or crookedness of the teeth, whether they are on the lower or upper jaw. When teeth are uneven, protruding, or crowded, they generally do not fit in the mouth properly. The condition may also refer to cases wherein a patient has missing or extra teeth, wide-spaced teeth, a cleft palate, or other irregularities in the face and jaw. In some cases, the malocclusion is inherited. In others, it may have been acquired. The misalignment in a patient’s teeth could have been caused by a number of things such as thumbsucking, tongue thrusting, accidents, premature teeth loss (either primary or permanent), dental disease, or some type of medical problem.
If these are left untreated, the orthodontic problems could worsen. When teeth are crooked or crowded, they are difficult to clean and hard to maintain. This, in turn, contributes to problems such as gum disease and tooth decay, which eventually lead to tooth loss. Malocclusion can also cause premature or abnormal wear of the enamel or tooth surface. It could also lead to chewing issues and unnecessary pressure on the supporting gum tissue and bone.
Who Needs to See An Orthodontist?
Contrary to what most people think, braces are not just for children. The fact is that one in four Canadians who are undergoing orthodontic treatment is older than 21. The basic process used to move teeth to their proper place is exactly the same, whether the patient is a child or an adult. In fact, proper orthodontic treatment can produce successful results regardless of the patient’s age. How fast and how well the results are will be determined by the health of the patient’s gums and teeth, and the condition of the supporting bones.
Most anyone can benefit from orthodontic treatment. When it comes to looking your best and improving your health, no one is ever too old.
The Right Time to See An Orthodontist
According to the AAO, a young patient should see an orthodontist at around seven years of age or younger. Some patients may even require orthodontic treatment at just 2 or 3 years old. It is often easier for an orthodontist to correct problems when they are diagnosed early, particularly when jaw growth has not stopped. With early treatment, the patient can avoid serious corrections or even surgery.
What is the Difference Between an Orthodontist and a Dentist?
Dentistry is a broad term for a medical practice that includes orthodontics. An orthodontist is a dental specialist who focuses on the correction of irregularities of the teeth and jaws. They are trained to safely move teeth and ensure that jaws develop correctly. In short, an orthodontist is a dentist that specializes in correcting dental and facial issues.
Members of the CAO carry a unique qualification to treat bad bites. In fact, the organization requires all orthodontist members to complete a minimum of two years in post-doctoral specialty training under an accredited program. Orthodontists have to complete this advanced training after they have completed dental school.
Is Orthodontic Treatment Expensive?
The cost will depend on the treatment requirement of the patient. As each patient is unique, there is no such thing as a one-price-fits-all cost. However, you will be surprised to know that orthodontic treatment is not as expensive as you may have thought. Many treatments require only a short time period to complete. If you have questions and concerns, feel free to discuss them with your orthodontist. He/She may even offer affordable payment plans to match your financial needs. There are also insurance plans that include dental treatments such as orthodontics at an affordable cost.