Fun Facts About Orthodontics

It should not be surprising that orthodontics and orthodontists play a much bigger role in the lives of children than adults. Now, there are a number of reasons for that being the case.

Braces are not cheap. Of course, prices are coming down, but for some parents who had multiple children 20, 30, or more years ago, it would have been cost prohibitive for them to get all their children fitted for braces.


But as mentioned, that is gradually changing. Dental insurance helps substantially. That’s part of the reason why today there are more than 5 million children who wear braces. And most children will have their first visit to an orthodontist usually between ages 10 and 14. However, the American Association of Orthodontists suggests that you take your child to see an orthodontist by age 7.

Now, there are a number of reasons why parents feel that an orthodontist needs to check out their child’s teeth. Some of the biggest reasons include the following:

– The child’s biting motion might be severely out of sync. You might know this as an overbite or underbite. Your child may need their jaw realigned through surgery.

– The child could still be sucking their thumb which may have resulted in protruding teeth.

– Accident or injury may have caused baby teeth to be lost too early. Similarly, it can be an issue if baby teeth are still lingering past the normal period.

– Teeth may be crowded.

– Your child may be grinding down his or her teeth.

– The misalignment of teeth is preventing your child from speaking or chewing properly.

– Your child may be breathing more through their mouth than nose.

Treating Orthodontic Dental Conditions

– The most well known solution is dental braces. You’ll find them made of metal, ceramic, or plastic materials. And not all braces are the clunky metal one’s that are the most well known. There are totally plastic braces and even a type that work their magic once installed in back of your teeth. Braces work through a tightening mechanism that delivers sufficient force to tighten or loosen them.

– As mentioned there are plastic or clear braces, which are also called aligners. They can be removed for eating and brushing your teeth. Aligners are usually recommended with the teeth alignment issue is not severe.

– Retainers are teeth alignment devices that can be removable or permanent. In many cases, the orthodontist may recommend that you wear a retainer for a while after the braces come off. The retainer acts as a teeth alignment stabilizer.

Components of Dental Braces

anatomyofbracesNot everyone is born with perfectly straight teeth. In fact, most people experience some degree of crooked or slanted teeth during their childhood. However, in most cases the misalignment of teeth are not severe enough to warrant braces.

But for those who get dental braces, the benefits are many. Straightened teeth allow for better speaking and better dental check ups. Plus, straight teeth reveal a more dazzling smile.

The appliance used to help straightened teeth are braces which can be made of metal, ceramic, or plastic. The type that you choose is usually a matter of the severity of the misaligned teeth, preference, and cost. But no matter which type you choose, the goal is the same. They all apply enough pressure to teeth to gradually move them into a straightened position over time.

Aside from the plastic braces, which are often referred to as invisible braces, all other are made of similar components, even though those components may be made of different materials. Here’s a breakdown of the components that comprise traditional braces:

Brackets – The brackets are the small square-ish elements that are bonded in place on each tooth.

Metal Bands – Typically these bands are a ring of metal that wrap around the molars, but can be used on other teeth.

Archwires – The archwire is the thin wire that horizontally spans across all of your teeth. It is held in place by the previously mentioned brackets. The orthodontist can adjust the tightness of this wire to create more force, thus causing teeth to move.

Elastic Hooks and Rubber Bands – You may see hooks or rubbers bands that are attached to brackets on the upper and lower teeth. The purpose of these rubberbands and hooks is to provide additional assistance in moving teeth into the desired position.

Ligature – As mentioned earlier, the archwire is attached to the brackets. Well, ligature bands or ligature ties are wire or elastic elements that hold the archwire in place. You may sometimes notice them as little bits of red, green, blue, or yellow color material that brighten up metal braces, but they do serve an important purpose.

So now you know the basic components of traditional braces. There are brackets that form the foundation, metal bands that serve as anchors, archwires that can be adjusted to move teeth, rubber bands that also help to adjust teeth, and ligatures that ensure that the archwire doesn’t detach from the brackets.

Pursuing an Orthodontic Career

How does someone become an orthodontist?

First of all, not a lot of people know the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist. To make it easy, think about the comparison between a general doctor and a thoracic surgeon. Someone learns to be a dentist and then chooses if one wants, to further study a specific field. Becoming specialized and focused on a certain area is how an orthodontist gets set apart from a general dentist. It is important to remember that no one can just jump into orthodontics.

Certain prior levels of knowledge and certified studies are required before obtaining credentials as a specialist in a field. In most cases, dentists that wish to go into orthodontics will immediately follow with studies without giving general practice a chance. As the studies have quite the year span it is important to have your priorities set and not waste any time.


What training is required?

Depending on country, the most common period of training in orthodontics is 2 to 4 years. One important thing to keep in mind is that like with any other specialty in the medical field, you need to know the basics first, general dentistry. This will involve a total of at least 6 years of training in the dentistry field, anywhere in the world.

According to the degree of difficulty of the area chosen, some fields of study may take longer to complete than others. Just graduating is not enough. Like law related fields for example, you will also have to pass some exams and get some additional certifications before you can start practice as an orthodontist. Note that situations, while similar in most cases, they do differ slightly from one country to another. Some certifications may even require renewal after a few years.


What services do orthodontists provide?

An orthodontist will have certain objectives to accomplish with diagnosis and treatment. The job primarily involves recognizing certain dentofacial deformities and explaining them to the patient, after which a treatment plan can be established. If a certain diagnosis cannot be reached by a general dentist, the patient will be referred to an orthodontist specialized in that specific field. It is most important that after the problem is understood by the orthodontist, the patient also receives an explanation in both medical and common terms.

This is why seeing an orthodontist is recommended when a complicated issue presents itself. Whatever a general dentist may not be able to explain in detail, a specialized orthodontist will. As common sense dictates, patients should also fully understand any course of action they must take regarding their health, basically just as it would be in any other field of medicine. To avoid any misdiagnoses, it is best to use an orthodontist but, depending on the treatment complexity, the procedures may be also be done by a general dentist.

To learn more about becoming an orthodontist, click on this dental careers link.