People are of the incorrect assumption that dentists and orthodontists are the same. But they are not. The one works in a more generalised field, focusing on the mouth, jaw, teeth and gums, while the other is specialised, correcting misaligned teeth using a variety of straightening methods, most commonly braces.

With good genetics and naturally straight teeth, you can go through life without stepping foot into an orthodontist’s office, while you should go and see the dentist regularly.

When should you visit which?

Whether or not you have problems with your teeth, gums or jaw, you should visit your dentist bi-annually, for a general check-up if for nothing else.

Your dental practitioner can refer you to a specialist if he or she considers your teeth crooked, your overbite overly pronounced, or if the gap between your teeth is disconcertingly wide and poses as a problem.

What does an orthodontist do?

You will make an appointment knowing there is something specific wrong or irregular with your teeth, and it is the role of this type of “tooth doctor” to diagnose precisely what that is and the steps that need to be taken to have it fixed.

Your teeth might need aligning or as mentioned previously a gap-tooth needs closing, or an overbite that could potentially cause you speech difficulties and problems with eating over time, correcting.

How does the appointment differ to a regular dental check-up

woman getting her teeth checked by dentist

Your consultation assesses the extent of your issue and presents you with a suitable teeth straightening solution to help fix it. Everything else about your appointment, from reclining in a chair to the tools used, and the relaxing music playing in the background to keep you calm, are experiences similar to that of being at the dental clinic.

The role of braces

A person suffering from the above issues will likely be prescribed braces, which work to move your teeth into the correct position by applying pressure. The results are not immediate, but they are effective!

Brackets are glued to the enamel of your teeth with wires woven between them. Bands of various colours (you can choose yours) are attached to the wires and pull your teeth into place.

If I have braces, how often should I see the specialist?

You will need to have your braces tightened every couple of months, and at the same time, your progress is monitored to ensure that everything is “on course”.

If you are experiencing any difficulties, say for example suffering from gum scrapes or ulcers caused by the  metal wires, you can ask about creams you can apply to the inside of your mouth to help ease your discomfort or numb the pain.

Alternatives to braces

As successful as they are in helping you achieve a dazzling smile, braces come at a price. You have to adapt your lifestyle; especially with cleaning your teeth and eating, and you cannot remove them, meaning you are stuck wearing the metal brackets for six to 18 months.

At the same time, adults find it hard to be taken seriously with metal glued their teeth, which is where Invisalign comes in. These invisible braces work to straighten your teeth discreetly using clear, removable aligners, and are as effective as conventional straightening methods.

Few of us are both with naturally straight teeth, but thanks to modern orthodontics, we do not have to live with the pains of crooked teeth, embarrassing gaps and overbites. Consult with a dental practitioner today and plan your future Colgate smile today!

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