Anatomy of a smile

Many people associate orthodontics with a treatment that is solely for the aesthetic alignment of teeth to create beautiful smiles. However, the goal of orthodontic treatment has always been to improve dental and jaw function as well as enhance dento-facial aesthetics. Functionally, a malocclusion (a “bad bite”) can contribute to jaw joint (TMJ) problems, dental wear, teeth grinding, periodontal problems (gums and jaw bones) and facial neuromuscular problems. There is almost always a health benefit that comes along with the creation of a beautiful smile once the occlusion (bite) is corrected.

Choosing an orthodontist

An orthodontist is a dentist who is specialized through an additional 2-3 years of full time schooling from an accredited university program solely for the correction of tooth alignment, occlusion and the overall harmony of the bite and joints. Choosing the right orthodontist for your child or yourself is important as most orthodontic treatments generally require a minimum of 12-18 months with appointments every 6-8 weeks. When patients seek the opinion of more than one orthodontist, they can receive different views as to how to treat the malocclusion. This can seem confusing, but in reality there are often a few different ways to treat a malocclusion with successful results. Some of the obvious factors to consider include location, parking options, cost, and business hours. However, it is equally important to evaluate the friendliness of the doctor and staff, how open and available they are to answer your questions, how well they explain treatment and what is expected of your child or yourself, whether they offer different treatment alternatives, and how knowledgeable they appear.