The 32 teeth in your oral cavity are meant to be in alignment but that may not be true in every person. Most people aren’t born with a picture perfect smile. When you think about consulting an orthodontist, you may think about trying to align your teeth. And that’s great, because crooked teeth can result in tooth decay, worsen gum disease and lead to tooth loss.
Who is an orthodontist?
Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry. An orthodontist is a dental specialist involved in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities, or “malocclusion,” which means “improper bite.” Orthodontists are skilled in treatments that will bring teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment.
When to See an Orthodontist?
Recognize any of these early warning signs? It might be time to schedule an orthodontic exam.
Early or late loss of baby teeth
Difficulty chewing or biting
Finger sucking or other oral habits
Crowding, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
Jaws that shift, make sounds, protrude or are recessed
Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
Teeth that meet in an abnormal way or don’t meet at all
Facial imbalance or asymmetry
Grinding or clenching of teeth
Most of our orthodontists recommend having an orthodontic screening by age 7
How to Choose an Orthodontist?
Qualifications and experience
If you’re considering orthodontic treatment, it’s important you find out what qualifications and experience your orthodontist has. To begin with they should have a Bachelor of Dentistry followed by a Master in Orthodontics.
While an orthodontist is responsible for your overall treatment plan, they don’t work alone. Rather, they are surrounded by a team of professionals, from orthodontic therapists to dental nurses, treatment co-coordinators to hygienists. Each play an important role in your orthodontic treatment journey.
Developments in orthodontic technology means there is a range of treatment methods available.Prior to booking a consultation, take a look at what treatments could be offered. This will enable you to ask informed questions of your treatment options when the opportunity arises.
Cost and finance
Orthodontic treatment is a significant financial investment but most orthodontists understand this and provide payment plans to help with the cost. Before you embark on treatment, make sure you have a full quote which details all fees involved.
Embarking on orthodontic treatment isn’t a decision to be made lightly. In addition to the overall cost, the impact treatment can have on your lifestyle should also be considered.
At home and post-treatment care
While undergoing orthodontic treatment, regular appointments would be scheduled with your orthodontist (about every eight weeks), as well as your usual appointments with your dentist.
Relationships with dentists
Although you will be under the care of a specialist orthodontist throughout your treatment, your dentist also needs to be kept informed.
On average, orthodontic treatment lasts between 12 and 24 months. This is a reasonable length of time to be attending appointments so you want to be comfortable and relaxed in the clinic.
During your initial examination we will acclimate you to our office and take the necessary photographs and X-rays that are essential to develop your unique treatment plan. Then the doctor will complete a brief but thorough exam and we will address the following questions that cover the basics of orthodontic treatment.
Is there an orthodontic concern, and if so, what is it?
What must be done to correct the concern?
Is treatment needed now or should treatment be delayed until appropriate growth, tooth eruption or other factors have occurred?
What treatment procedures will be used to correct the problem?
Will any teeth need to be removed?
How long will treatment take to complete?
How much will treatment cost and what are my payment options?
We feel that it is important to take the time to analyze each patient’s specific needs, because in-depth planning leads to superior results and higher patient satisfaction. For this reason, we will schedule a consultation visit to discuss treatment options, time frames and financial arrangements. We ensure that our patients leave our office with a clear understanding of their specific needs, what the treatment will consist of and how long it will take.
What a second opinion? Go for it!
We encourage patients to view orthodontic treatment recommendations with the same scrutinizing eye, particularly when those recommendations have not come from an orthodontist. Why? Because while all orthodontists are dentists, not all dentists are orthodontists.
When to get a second opinion?
It has been recommended that you have multiple teeth extracted before beginning orthodontic treatment
You have been told a smile makeover that includes veneers or dental implants would treat your condition better than orthodontics
You are unsure if the treatment recommended is necessary
You are concerned about cost
However, the average length of time to wear braces is usually from 1 to 2 years. For some individuals braces may have to be worn for longer period of time up to 3 years or so and for some other individuals the time duration to wear braces may be lesser.
Most importantly individual’s willingness to follow the dentist instruction can greatly affect the effectiveness as well as the length of the time. One should listen and follow the orthodontic’s instructions prior to and during the time of wearing braces.
Dr. Gowtham Kattamuri
Dr. Gowtham has done his BDS from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences in 2006 and MDS – Conservative Dentistry & Endodontics from Dr. MGR Medical University in 2010. He is a skilled Endodontist with an experience of over 10 years. Dr. Gowtham is specialized in replacement of teeth, Dental Implants, prosthetics for maxillofacial defects such as artificial eye, ear, nose and orbital defects, Smile Makeovers with laminates, Zirconia, veneers metal free ceramics. He also performs general dental procedures such as restorations and extractions. He also is trained as an International Patient Coordinator.