People have been concerned about the straightness of their teeth for thousands of years. Even in Ancient Rome, Egypt, and other civilizations people were using various tools in an attempt to shape their teeth or jaw lines. The reason I point this out is to demonstrate that it’s nothing new or different to have crooked or misaligned teeth and seek corrections. Some feel ashamed of the fact that they want solutions for a crooked smile, but they shouldn’t. It’s more common than one might think for an adult to seek help from professional orthodontists. It’s essentially that you get past the “braces are for kids” mentality and let an orthodontist get to work fixing your crooked smile. If you’ve been putting it off there’s no better time than your next visit to the dentist. Simply ask for a referral and they’ll guide you the right direction.
Smile correction treatments aren’t as big a deal as you might think, and there is no reason to be nervous about meeting with an orthodontist. There are quite a few orthodontists who specialize in care for adults, offering various forms of treatment that range from traditional braces to methods developed in more recent years. Your first visit to the orthodontist will be quite the experience. You’ll probably see some tools and contraptions you never have in the past, and they may even look a little scary. Fear not, a trip to the orthodontist typically never includes great amounts of pain. Your consultation will primarily focus on the current shape of your teeth and jaw line, and a review of the possible treatment options. Be clear during this time about the options you’re most interested in, but understand that not all treatments will work for every situation.
Remember that a visit to the orthodontist isn’t one full of pain, so you’ve got nothing to be afraid of. The worst case from orthodontic treatment is usually discomfort from the teeth being shifted into place. This usually only occurs right after tightening procedures and can easily be addressed with a mild painkiller like Advil. Of course consult with your orthodontic professional before using any medications. If you believe that your teeth are simply too crooked to be fixed, it’s likely that you are mistaken. It’s not common that a case exists that can’t be solved by a talented orthodontist. There’s no harm in getting a consultation, that’s for sure.
Your search for an orthodontist doesn’t need to be too complicated, but you should try to answer a few questions along the way. By gaining the most information possible you’ll be well-informed and equipped to make the proper decision. Here are an example of a few good questions to be considering during your search:
- What kind of experience and how much does this orthodontist have?
- You want to make sure that the orthodontist you choose is prepared to handle even the most difficult cases. Orthodontists who have the most experience and training have dealt with a variety of issues and are most well-equipped to prescribe the most effective treatment at the outset.
- What type of practice does the orthodontist work for?
- Do they have their own practice or are they part of a larger coalition? You’ll want to find that out and then gauge the practice’s standing in the community. How long has it been in operation? Do people local to the practice generally use it? Do a little digging online and you’ll find all the information you need.
- Are the board certified by the AAO?
- The American Association of Orthodontists is the governing body for ethics and practice standards for orthodontics in the United States. They help ensure that orthodontists are well-trained and up-to-date on best practice matters. Choosing the right orthodontist starts with finding one who is board certified.
These questions should help you narrow down your search. They are basic, but the answers should be very telling.
Orthodontics generally has one primary goal, straightening misaligned teeth and jaws. However, many specialities and focuses comprise the entirety of the field. Some orthodontists work only with children, focusing on offering affordable kids braces. Others may go after a family angle, offering a wide variety of general orthodontic services that might be perfect for the whole family. Adult orthodontics is another area that some will specialize in, focusing on various methods for discreet treatment for adults and even teenagers. Let’s take a look at some of the more common options provided:
- Clear Braces – these function the exact same way as traditional steel braces, but they are a little less noticeable. Rather than metal, they are made of a clear plastic polymer. In some severe cases, the power of traditional braces is necessary, and that’s what clear braces are perfect for. They have the effectiveness of regular braces but are less noticeable.
- Lingual Braces – These are often referred to as ‘hidden braces’ because they are out of sight during the entire course of treatment. They’re still made of steel, but the brackets are affixed to the back of the teeth, out of sight from others. These braces can be difficult to install, and therefore require the oversight of a skilled orthodontist.
- Invisalign – A revolutionary teeth straightening device, Invisalign is sometimes called “invisible braces.” This system uses clear plastic aligners that are snapped directly over teeth. They’re easier to use than traditional braces because they can be removed when its’ time to clean teeth or eat.
These are some of the great options that are available to you as you seek treatment for your crooked smile. During your search for an orthodontist, make sure you find someone who offers the treatment methods that most interest you. In addition to that and their experience, you need to take personality into consideration. This will be a long-term professional relationship, so pick someone you are comfortable working with.