If you have only recently begun taking your child to the dentist, you may be wondering what is different about seeing the dentist versus seeing the orthodontist.
Just like you can visit a doctor who is a general practitioner or one who is a specialist, the same concept applies to dentistry. An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in straightening teeth. They hold two to three years of specialized orthodontics training, which they complete after dental school.
It is incredibly rare to be born with naturally “perfect” teeth — most of us need a little extra professional work done in order to achieve our ideal smile. Orthodontists specialize in correcting misaligned teeth and jaws. Of course, not everyone has the same exact orthodontics needs. An orthodontist will provide a unique diagnosis of what is going on in your mouth, and offer solutions for corrective treatment.
There is not one answer to when it’s best to start visiting an orthodontist — orthodontists can see patients at any age. That being said, it is certainly financially wise to begin seeing the orthodontist while your child is still young, when orthodontic issues tend to initially appear. Even if your child who is below seven years old has not developed any orthodontic problems that require immediate attention, the orthodontist can still predict what might happen in the future — which can save you both time and money down the road. In addition, an orthodontist can warn of impending issues, which will save you stress — and your child more dental issues, in years to come.
Many of us are quick to associate orthodontics with braces, but there are many more important services that orthodontists can provide as well. It is typical for most parents to revel in excitement when their child’s teeth first start coming in, but over time, it can seem like your child’s mouth may simply run out of room! Orthodontists help make more space for crowded or erupted teeth, and save space for additional teeth that may not have come in yet. They can also minimize any risk of trauma from teeth that are protruding and the need for teeth to be removed entirely. Orthodontists deal with more than just teeth, too — they can help influence the growth of your child’s jaw in order to create more symmetry in their face.
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