“Teeth alignment”, as much as it is an aesthetic requirement, is equally important for healthy teeth. Misaligned teeth or overcrowded teeth are the last things on earth one would want. Not just because it is less aesthetic, but primarily because it can be really painful and uneasy to chew food.
Mostly, when dentists come across a case of misaligned teeth, they refer it to orthodontists. But why orthodontists? Aren’t dentists certified to give us the treatment? Well, let’s first understand the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist and what is Orthodontic care?
What is the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist?
A dentist studies and practices the science that offers treatment for teeth, jaw, nerves, and gum. After completing their degree in dental studies, when a person specializes in dentistry (study of teeth), he/she is known as an orthodontist. An orthodontist is responsible to perform dental surgeries and work on correcting bites, occlusion, and the alignment of teeth.
Dentists generally take care of tooth decay, root canals, gum disease, crowns, bridges, veneers, teeth whitening, etc. On the other hand, an orthodontist takes care of misaligned teeth, crowded teeth, overbite, underbite, spaces between teeth, temporomandibular joint disorders, fillings, etc.
Alignment of teeth is a treatment that is usually started with reducing the overcrowding of the teeth. Some Orthodontists prefer removing the wisdom tooth to let the other teeth have enough space and then align them. The entire process is divided into three phases of Orthodontic treatment.
The process starts with determining the original structure and alignment of the teeth. The dentist involved in the treatment suggests the patient get an x-ray examination done of their teeth. This presents a clear picture of the spots where the teeth are overcrowded and the dentist comes up with solutions that can provide the patient with better-aligned teeth.
The patient is then sent to an Orthodontist, who presents before them the options or different kinds of braces available to get their teeth aligned. The Orthodontist also suggests to them all the benefits and disadvantages of using a particular option. The patient is guided by the doctor and can choose the kind of braces they want to be put on their teeth.
After analyzing the x-ray reports, if the Orthodontist concludes that there is a need for the removal of a tooth, they get done with the removal process before the braces are placed on the teeth. Also, a team of doctors makes a list of all the materials that shall be involved in the process and presents a tentative bill before the patient. If the patient agrees to the prices, they can get going with the process.
If required, the Orthodontist removes a tooth or two (mostly the wisdom tooth) to make place for the other teeth. After the removal of the teeth, the patient is given some time to rest and recover from the teeth removal. After a suitable period of rest, the Orthodontist then starts with placing the braces in the teeth.
A patient could choose Invisalign braces or might even go for the metallic ones. In the metallic or ceramic braces, the brackets are cemented or anchored to the surface of the teeth and a wire is passed through them. The wire is then crossed over a hinge and tightened so that the teeth are pushed backward and aligned better.
Most patients these days are preferring Invisalign braces over traditional metal braces. The Orthodontist prepares a mold of the patient’s teeth and makes braces of the same shape. These braces can be taken off easily by the patient when they want to brush or floss their teeth. Mostly, the patients are given a new set of braces after every six weeks.
Post braces phase:
The Braces are usually worn for approximately two years to support the teeth and align them firmly. After the braces are removed, the patient needs to take good care of their teeth. The doctor provides them with tools for dental health Orthodontics. They are usually provided with retainers to hold their teeth in shape.
If a patient has a habit of grinding their teeth during sleep, the Orthodontist provides them with a mouth guard to take care of their teeth as part of the orthodontic treatment steps. If there is still scope for better alignment of the teeth, the doctor provides them with Invisalign braces to wear for an additional period.
Several times, patients face an alignment issue, even after the treatment is done. In such cases, the Orthodontist provides the patient with a tool to push their teeth back into alignment. Retainers work the same way. The Orthodontist suggests the patient take good care of their teeth. Floss and brush their teeth at least twice a day and wear retainers for as long as possible.
Invisalign braces are slightly better compared to ceramic or metal braces. The only drawback with Invisalign braces is that they are slightly more expensive than the other available options.
There are three phases of orthodontic treatment. The first one of the three stages of Orthodontic treatment is planning. As a part of this process, the dentist suggests the patient get an x-ray done of their teeth.
After analyzing the x-ray reports, it is determined what are the spots where the teeth are overcrowded and how can the alignment be repaired.
If there is a requirement for the removal of a tooth, it has to be done before the braces are put on. After the x-ray is done, the patient is sent to the Orthodontist who presents before them the different kinds of braces available. Depending upon the braces that the patient chooses, they provide him with the tentative cost of the entire treatment.
If the patient agrees to the treatment, the Orthodontist starts with the removal of the tooth if required. Mostly the wisdom tooth is removed in such cases. After the teeth removal, the patient waits for recovery. After recovery, they start with getting the braces placed. After the braces are placed, they have to be worn for at least two years.
After the removal of braces, the patient is provided with retainers and tools to push the teeth back into alignment.