If you have concerns about the position of your own teeth or those of your children, it never hurts to see an orthodontist. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children age 7 or less see an orthodontist at least once to evaluate for potential problems that could develop further in the future. That is not to say that orthodontic treatment is strictly for children, however. Orthodontists can and do treat adult patients as well.
What Does Orthodontic Treatment Accomplish?
Orthodontists use appliances such as braces, retainers, aligners, etc. to slowly move teeth into a new position over time by putting pressure on them. Orthodontic treatment corrects malocclusion, which is a Latin-derived term meaning “bad bite.” It is the medical term for teeth that are crowded, crooked, or otherwise out of their proper place.
People with malocclusion, particularly children, may have difficulty with speech. Malocclusion can cause problems with chewing, which can affect nutrition. It can also contribute to gum disease or tooth decay.
However, many adults who seek orthodontic treatment do so for reasons of aesthetics. They are not happy with the way they look with crooked teeth and seek treatment as a way to improve their appearance. Similarly, a child’s doctor may suggest orthodontic treatment if the child reports trouble with peers on account of the appearance of his or her teeth.
How Do You Find an Orthodontist?
If your dentist sees evidence of malocclusion in you or your children, he or she may take the initiative in referring you to an orthodontist. However, if the initial signs are subtle, the dentist may not notice them at first and so not recognize the need for a referral to an orthodontist.
Nevertheless, if you have questions or suspect problems with malocclusion, you do not need a referral from your dentist in order to see an orthodontist. However, you can bring up the issue with your dentist, who may be able to point you in the direction of an orthodontist whose work he or she knows and trusts. You can also seek referrals from family and friends.
Orthodontic treatment represents a significant expenditure and insurance may not pay for it, especially if you are an adult seeking it for yourself. Therefore, it is a good idea to ask the opinion of people you know, and in whom you have confidence, before choosing an orthodontist. However, you can also find an orthodontist on your own, using the phone book or online search tools.
The first consultation with an orthodontist is often offered at no charge. This means that it costs you nothing to have an evaluation and see what course of treatment if any, the orthodontist recommends. Contact an orthodontist, like an orthodontist in Dana Point, CA, for an appointment today.
Thank you to the experts at John Redmond Orthodontics for their input into orthodontic care.