When people think of orthodontics, they likely think of braces. This common method to straighten teeth has permeated our culture, becoming a tried-and-true way to correct anything from overbites to speech disorders. However, there’s more to this field than just braces. If you’re looking for an orthodontist in St. Paul, MN, learn more about how this branch of dentistry works to treat any number of oral issues at any age.
What Is Orthodontics?
An orthodontist is not the same as a regular dentist. The latter focuses more on the broader aspects of the profession, treating a wide range of disorders. The word orthodontics refers to the dental specialty that focuses on the prevention, interference, and correction of a person’s bite.
A healthy bite means straight lines of teeth that fit properly with their counterparts. Orthodontics makes it possible for people to chew and speak without interruption. It also helps people care for their teeth properly, with brushing and flossing being infinitely easier with well-spaced teeth and healthy gums.
Who Should Opt for Orthodontic Treatment?
Anyone with misaligned, crowded, or abnormal teeth can benefit from the techniques used in orthodontia. From braces to retainers, the products today are designed to guide teeth into the positions they were always meant to be in and then hold them in place once they get there.
We may have once associated orthodontists largely with children and teens, but the reality is that plenty of adults visit these specialists to address different issues. Some may visit a dentist in St. Paul, MN due to a problem they’ve faced since childhood. Others might be experiencing gradual changes, such as the slow-building pressure of their wisdom teeth. At St. Anthony Park Dental Care, we make it possible for every patient to have the smile they’ve always wanted.
Common Devices Used in Orthodontia
The field of orthodontics has come a long way over the years, innovating new devices to ensure patients get the treatments they need with as few obstacles as possible in the way. Here are just a few devices you might be introduced to on your quest to better oral health:
- Fixed: This term refers to a device that you won’t be able to remove, such as traditional braces, and it’s recommended when the orthodontist wants full control over the movement of the teeth. You will be able to eat relatively normally with fixed devices, though you will need to avoid gum, hard candy, and sticky foods.
- Removable: Removable products can be used to treat minor to moderate bite issues or to prevent developmental habits, such as thumb-sucking. Clear aligners are the most popular product in this category as they’re virtually unnoticeable when a person is wearing them.
- Splints: Splints can address jaw disorders, such as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), which can cause pain and dysfunction when chewing or speaking.
What to Expect from Orthodontic Treatment
The earliest people start treatment is around 12 or so, when the adult teeth have already developed. The most common exception would be a child with a cleft lip, which may require intervention before the adult teeth have the chance to come in.
To diagnose the problem the orthodontist will get a full oral health history from the patient, take X-rays of the teeth and jaw, and perform a full examination before developing a plan. In this field, treatment is always tailored to fit the individual’s needs.
If you’re interested in finding an orthodontist in St. Paul, MN, it’s crucial to find an expert who will structure a treatment that will fit both your lifestyle and preferences. Certain activities, like sports or physical labor, can affect the appliances used to fix your bite. A good orthodontist will be able to work around these inevitabilities, finding solutions that allow the patient to keep their routine the same without compromising their smile.
Find an Orthodontist in St. Paul, MN
At St. Anthony Park Dental Care, we know that orthodontic issues can emerge at any time in a person’s life, for any number of reasons. We’re here to help all of our patients in the St. Paul area get the attention and care they deserve, so they can improve their oral health from the inside out. Contact us today to learn more about what our staff can do for you.