Roughly 4 million Americans visit an orthodontist every year. While this may seem like a large number, it is believed that 25% to 50% require orthodontic attention. This means that millions of people do not receive the treatment they need. But why exactly do so many people need help from an orthodontist?
Orthodontists are essentially specialized dentists. A primary dentist focuses on cleaning and checking for damage, orthodontists focus on alignment and jaw irregularities. When our bite and teeth are out of alignment, they often worsen over time. Orthodontic care can prevent and even fix a variety of oral issues.
This article will discuss why it’s so important to visit an orthodontist before alignment and jaw issues get worse.
What Does an Orthodontist Do?
Before searching “orthodontist near me,” it’s helpful to understand what an orthodontist specializes in. While it’s most common for kids and teenagers to receive orthodontic attention, adults may also benefit. Some adults may opt to avoid orthodontic treatment due to cosmetic reasons. However, new technologies in orthodontics make orthodontic devices appear almost invisible.
Orthodontists often specialize in placing, adjusting, and removing dental devices such as braces, bands, and retainers. They are expected to complete an undergraduate degree, dental school, and orthodontic school. This gives them comprehensive expertise in oral health.
The following section will offer an in-depth look into all the ways that seeing an orthodontist early can do for your oral health.
How Orthodontists Can Help
Unfortunately, teeth and bite issues seldom go away on their own. In most cases, problems continue to develop and get worse. An orthodontist knows exactly what to look for and how to slow or even halt further issues from developing. Here are just a few ways that an orthodontist can help:
They Can Fix Bite Issues
Many young people have bite abnormalities such as an overbite, underbite, crossbite, or open bite. These issues often make teenagers feel self-conscious and may create confidence issues.
For instance, those with an overbite may experience what is referred to as “buck teeth.” Individuals with an underbite may also experience what appears like “bulldog teeth.” A crossbite is essentially a combination of the two, where some lower and upper teeth go too far forward or back. An open bite may cause space between rows of teeth within the mouth.
Aside from the cosmetic part of bite abnormalities (also known as malocclusion), they can cause several troublesome physical symptoms. It is common for those with malocclusion to experience teeth grinding, speech issues, clenching, and headaches. Braces are often a common way of fixing bite issues. Depending on the severity, it may take several years to fix a bite abnormality.
They Can Fix Gaps in Your Teeth
One of the most common oral issues that people struggle with is having gaps in their teeth. While this is considered normal, it can create similar confidence issues to those with bite irregularities. This can be particularly true for gaps in the top front teeth.
Aside from the appearance, gaps can be a breeding ground for bad bacteria. When we eat, food and debris can get stuck in the gaps. Without regular and thorough cleaning, this can cause cavities and possibly gum disease.
They Can Reduce the Risk of TMD
TMD, or Temporomandibular Disorder, is a condition that affects the joints in the jaw. When someone has TMD, they experience pain when they open their mouths. That means anytime they talk, eat, or move their jaw in any way, they experience discomfort. This is something that tends to worsen over time without treatment.
They Can Do Wonders for Crooked Teeth
Luckily, braces and retainers can offer support to those with crooked teeth. Like gaps in the teeth, crooked teeth can catch and hold food and debris, making it difficult to maintain good oral hygiene. There are more braces options than ever before – even barely visible types (clear aligners). This allows adults and children alike to fix their crooked teeth without worrying about bulky and irritating metal in their mouths.
They Offer Solutions for Overcrowded Teeth
Some people experience overcrowded teeth, making them extremely difficult to clean. This issue occurs when there are too many teeth in one section of the mouth. When teeth are too tightly pushed together, it may cause plaque and tartar buildup, gum disease, and other more troublesome conditions. An orthodontist may suggest braces or the removal of certain teeth.
They Can Help with Sleep Issues Caused By Teeth Grinding and Sleep Apnea
Most people don’t realize that they grind their teeth at night. The reason for this is obvious: they are asleep. Some people might go years without realizing that their teeth grinding is causing them painful, sleepless nights. Often, it takes a partner to bring this to their attention.
Sleep apnea is another way that people struggle to fall and stay asleep. This issue occurs due to breathing difficulties at night. Jaw and teeth misalignment can be a primary cause of chronic sleep apnea. When visiting a dentist, be sure to mention your sleep apnea or sleep disruptions.
They Can Assist Those with a Facial Imbalance
When the center of the front and back teeth don’t align, facial imbalance may occur. Also known as a misplaced midline, a facial imbalance can become increasingly painful or uncomfortable over time. Braces can create more facial symmetry, which is beneficial both cosmetically and helps reduce discomfort.
Looking for Orthodontic Care? Contact Art of Smile Philadelphia Today
Are you looking for an experienced, trusted orthodontist in Philadelphia? If so, Art of Smile Philadelphia is eager to take your call! For over two decades, our orthodontic treatment team has been a valued part of the Philadelphia community. No matter what your orthodontic needs are, we have your back.
Catching alignment issues early can save you a lot of time and discomfort. Don’t wait for symptoms to get worse. Contact Art of Smile Philadelphia, and we’ll put that smile back on your face today!