4 reasons to see an orthodontist (it's not just about braces)
There are many different reasons to see an orthodontist, from smile alignment to treating sleep apnoea. Should you consider a visit?
Lucy E Cousins
More than half of Australians feel self-conscious about their smile and 62% are considering orthodontic treatment, according to a recent study. An orthodontist is a dental specialist who diagnoses and treats facial irregularities, including aligning teeth and jaws. So while a dentist may help you with general dental problems that affect your teeth, mouth and gums, orthodontists treat crooked teeth and jaw alignment.
Orthodontists, like dentists, must complete a 5-year Bachelor of Dentistry degree. However, orthodontists then go on to study an additional 3-year Master’s degree in Orthodontics. They then need to be registered as a specialist by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.
Braces are still one of the main reasons Australians visit an orthodontist, but according to the Australian Society of Orthodontists, there are at least 4 other good reasons to make an appointment:
1. Learn how to speak and chew better
Apart from improving your smile, orthodontists can help combat and prevent speech impediments, incorrect chewing habits (which can lead to tooth and jaw damage) and breathing irregularities due to tooth or jaw alignment. An orthodontist can advise you on a holistic level about treatments and daily habits that will improve these problems.
2. Improve your smile without braces
Orthodontists can use a variety of techniques to correct cooked teeth, gaps in teeth, overcrowding and protruding teeth. In fact, there are many different ways to correct your smile without having to resort to traditional braces. Treatments include “invisible” braces (clear moulds that sit on your teeth), correcting removable plates (or retainers) and “incognito” braces (fixed to the inside of the teeth and not visible).
3. Correct your profile
Orthodontists can treat conditions such as misaligned jaws, incorrect bites and protruding teeth — all of which make up your profile, jawline and overall facial structure. Addressing these conditions can improve your appearance.
4. Improve your sleep
You may not know that an orthodontist may be able to help in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea – a potentially serious condition where you experience breathing irregularities while sleeping, and where breathing may stop altogether for a short time. There are different treatments for sleep apnoea, your sleep specialist will be able to advise on what treatment is best for you.
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