Choosing the Right Orthodontist

orthodontistEveryone deserves a beautiful smile, but not everyone is born with one. Most of us have to have some help with straightening our teeth and a large group of us need braces to do this. This is where an orthodontist is needed. There are many doctors you can turn to when you want to start fixing your smile, so how do you choose the one that is best for you? There are some things to consider if you want to have the best chance at a stunning smile.

  • Experience: You need someone who has years of experience in the field. This is especially important if you have serious dental issues that need taking care of. Ask the orthodontist you are considering for their resume and to see where they studied. You should only turn to someone who has a degree from a reputable school.
  • Referrals: A great way to find an orthodontist you trust is by asking your doctor for a referral. This will ensure that the person you go to is qualified and can offer the services you need. If you do not have a general practitioner whom you can ask for a recommendation, ask people you trust for who they use.
  • Reviews: Once you have a potential orthodontist, do a bit of research. This is easy now, since there are many sites that offer reviews online for different doctors. You want to choose someone who has positive reviews. One or two negative ones are okay, but if the majority are negative, you need to find someone else.
  • Consultation:: Another important step in choosing an orthodontist is scheduling a preliminary consultation. You need to be sure that you feel comfortable with the person who will be treating you. Ask them lots of questions and see if their personality suits your needs. The last thing you need is to have to dread going to the doctor’s because you do not like your orthodontist.
  • Emergency Services: It is not likely that you will need emergency orthodontic services, but it can still be a good idea to choose a clinic that offers this option. Many orthodontists have emergency lines where you can reach them. This can be especially important if you have children who are going to start wearing braces soon.
  • Financing Options: Brace and other orthodontist procedures are expensive. Some insurance companies do not even offer coverage for some of them. If this is the case, you need to see if the clinic has financing options.

Choosing an orthodontist does not have to be difficult if you know what to look for. You need someone with experience and who has degrees from reputable sources. You also want someone who knows how to manage with all  manner of medical issues, especially if you have one of the more complicated dentistry conditions. You should ask your doctor for a referral in order to choose the best person for the job and take the time to read online reviews of the doctor. With a bit of information, you can find the best orthodontist.

Why people get braces on their teeth

One of famed children’s author Dr. Seuss’ books was entitled The Tooth Book.  In it, he rhymes about the importance of teeth, who has them, where they can be found, and he also says that everyone should see a dentist in order to maintain a healthy mouth.  One of the things he doesn’t say is that the dentist may send his or her patients to a specialist known as an orthodontist if the dentist notices that the patient’s teeth are crooked or crowded.  The dentist will also send you to an orthodontist to correct both overbites as well as underbites, and to get an incorrect jaw position fixed and to have other disorders of the jaw joints corrected, as well.   Upon looking in your mouth at your teeth and at x-rays, the orthodontist may recommend braces in order to fix whatever is causing your malocclusion, or bad bite.  If you do not have braces placed on your teeth in order to fix the problems in your mouth, you could end up with tooth decay, gum disease, headaches, earaches, or speaking, biting or chewing problems. Braces are made of metal, ceramic or plastic and are bonded to the front of your teeth.  You can also get lingual or concealed braces and have the brackets attached to the back of your teeth, and are therefore hidden from view. All types of braces use wires to move the teeth to the desired position regardless of whether they are placed on the front or the back of the teeth.   If the wire or a bracket comes loose, make an appointment as soon as possible to have it fixed.  Also, if it feels as if the wires are poking you, you can ask for some wax to rub on them to alleviate the pain.  Try to keep your teeth as clean as possible while you have your braces on and be sure to brush and floss after every meal.  In addition, avoid eating chewy, sticky or gummy type foods, and popcorn as these can get caught in your braces and cause additional problems.   Some patients may be able to wear an aligner instead of having to have braces placed in their mouth.  An aligner is a clear, customized appliance that gets removed when you eat, brush and floss.  It gets changed approximately every two weeks and is most appropriate for adults with minor spacing issues.   Patients usually wear braces for anywhere from one to two years and will have to periodically see the orthodontist and have the wires tightened.  Once they are removed, most people have to wear a retainer, for another 12 to 24 months.  A retainer is a hard piece of plastic shaped like a mouthguard with metal wires.   Be sure to keep all appointments with both your orthodontist and your regular dentist.  Once all of the work is done in your mouth you will not only want to smile more often, you will be able to smile more beautifully and without any pain or problems.

Procedure for getting braces

If you have been referred to an orthodontist because the time has come to get braces to fix a malocclusion, there are a number of steps that will be taken before, during, and after they are placed in your mouth.   The first thing that will happen will be the initial consultation.  This is usually free and includes the doctor looking at x-rays of your mouth and teeth.  He or she will determine what work is necessary to fix your problems and give you some options and prices.  This is the time for you to ask any questions you may have. Next, you need to have any preliminary work taken care of.  This includes going to your regular dentist for a cleaning, having any teeth that need to be removed taken out and, if desired, having your teeth whitened.  In addition, it is best to have any periodontal or endodontic work done prior to having your braces put on.   During your first official visit, the orthodontist will take a variety of x-rays and pictures.  He or she will have a panoramic x-ray of your mouth taken, as well as a full set of x-rays of individual teeth.  In addition, the doctor will also take pictures of your face, teeth, and mouth.  The orthodontist will also take a mold of your mouth and if the space between any of your teeth is tight, he or she will insert rubber or metal spacers in order to prepare your mouth for braces.   At your second visit, the brackets will be positioned on your teeth.  This is done by first drying your teeth and then applying etchant to them in order to prep them for the special cement to hold the brackets in place.  The brackets are then placed on your teeth and high-intensity plasma light is used to set the bond.  The wire is then placed through the brackets and little rubber bands are placed on the brackets.  Each row of teeth takes approximately an hour for the procedure to be complete.   Afterward, your teeth may feel sore and it is best to eat soft foods and liquids for a day or so until the pain subsides.  You may also take over the counter pain relievers to decrease the pain.  In addition, your lips, cheeks, and tongue may become irritated until they grow scar tissue and become accustomed to the braces.  You can use dental wax to ease the pain.   You will need to return every four to six weeks in order to have the wire tightened.  At that time, the old wire and rubber bands will be removed.  You will then brush and floss your teeth before a new wire and rubber bands are attached.  You may need to take an over the counter pain reliever for a day or two following the follow-up appointments.   When it is time to have your braces removed, the orthodontist will use special pliers to get the brackets off and a special machine to get the glue off your teeth.  You will probably have to wear a retainer in order to ensure that your teeth do not shift.