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Houston Dentist, Houston Dental Office
 

Orthodontics

What is an Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental professional with 2-3 years of specialized training beyond dental school and is a specialist at straightening teeth. The Orthodontic specialist is concerned with the diagnosis, and the guidance of corrective treatment for malocclusions (Latin for “bad bite”). Orthodontists are specially trained in the corrective treatment of the misalignment of teeth and jaws to promote long term oral health. Orthodontists are required to study at an accredited orthodontic residency program as part of their extended education. Orthodontists limit their practice to orthodontic treatment only unless they have training in another dental specialty. 

Preventive Orthodontics:

Orthodontists specialize in treatments to prevent or reduce the severity of developing malocclusions by maintaining the quality of an otherwise healthy developing oral structure. When an issue is noticed earlier, treatment can be shorter and less expensive compared to future developments that are left untreated.

Common preventative treatments include:

Space Maintainers:

Primary teeth assist in guiding permanent teeth into position. When lost early due to accidents or dental disease, a space maintainer may be required. If the space is not maintained, other neighboring teeth may shift and drift into their place, preventing the permanent tooth from erupting or causing crowding and/or misalignment when it does.
A space maintainer is an orthodontic appliance that keeps the space open so that the permanent tooth can erupt into its natural position. It is a simple device that can save your child many months of future orthodontic treatment.

Guided Eruption:

Crowding may be prevented or reduced if treatment begins while the permanent front teeth are erupting (around six years of age). This can be done by creating more space for the teeth and allowing natural alignment to occur. Ask our doctors about a space analysis to find out if this is a preventative option for your child.

Early Extraction:

Occasionally a primary tooth does not fall out when it supposed to or simply does not fall out on it’s own at all. In these cases, the permanent tooth can grow in the wrong location because it does the primary tooth has not been pushed out of the space. If this is the case, then it may be necessary to extract the primary tooth to allow the proper eruption and spacing location of the permanent tooth.

Thumb Sucking:

Extensive thumb-sucking can cause the upper teeth or jaw to tip forward and can result in a serious overbite that requires extensive orthodontic treatment. With the use of a dental appliance that discourages thumb-sucking, future costly orthodontic treatment may be prevented.

Dental Headgear:

Headgear is a preventive option used is to correct the way the upper and lower molars fit with each other. It can also be used to create additional space for permanent teeth alignment. Headgear is primarily worn in the home and at night during sleep.

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