Orthodontists help straighten teeth and improve your bite by correcting how teeth fit together and how your jaws line up. They use braces, aligners, and other appliances to achieve this goal. They also use retainers to hold teeth in position.
An Orthodontist must complete 4 years of dental school, and then 2-3 years of additional specialized study in orthodontics.
General dentists often refer their patients to an Orthodontist when they see a problem with either tooth alignment or jaw position. Although many people think of orthodontic treatment as just straightening the teeth, one of the most important reasons is to correct the way the teeth come together.
A good bite can prevent premature tooth wear, jaw pain, as well as many other dental problems. Overlapping teeth can be very hard to keep clean, which can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss. Straightened teeth are easier to brush and floss, leading to healthier teeth and gums.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an initial orthodontic screening by the age of 7. Early screening can be very beneficial in detecting orthodontic issues that if left untreated, could lead to more serious problems later on.