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.
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:
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.
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.
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
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
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.