If a general dentist recommends a dental crown, there are a variety of reasons why. Crowns can be used for cosmetic corrections as well as for protection and support. These dental restorations may seem intimidating to those who have never had one, but they do not have to be. Here are some questions to ask…
Can My Dentist Straighten My Teeth?
When you think about orthodontics, do you consider seeing your dentist for treatment? An orthodontist probably first comes to mind when you need someone to straighten your teeth or repair a bite dysfunction. However, under the right circumstances, your dentist may be able to meet your needs and give you the smile you have been looking for.
Issues orthodontics can handle
Genetics, poor oral health care and a small mouth or jaw can contribute to crooked teeth. Some people may struggle with misalignment because they sucked their thumb or used a pacifier beyond the age of 3. Any of these factors could also cause bite abnormalities such as a crossbite, underbite, overbite or buck teeth. Some of these problems may be evident in early childhood, while others may get worse later on in life.
What the dentist can handle
Orthodontists focus their training, research and hands-on practice in straightening teeth and repairing jaw conditions. Dentists, meanwhile, are more concerned about the health of the patient’s teeth, gums and nerves. Many dentists will not stray from these areas of practice and will refer a patient to an orthodontist for orthodontic care. However, other dentists get continuing education in orthodontics and develop the skills to help with minor or moderate issues.
Advantages of seeing a dentist for orthodontics
Starting at the time teeth begin to emerge in a child’s mouth, it is important to visit the dentist for semiannual checkups. This should be the case even when the person has braces, clear aligners or other mouth appliances. If a patient can get both dental care and orthodontic treatment during the same visit, there is more convenience. The dentist may even reduce the treatment cost. Plus, the dentist will already be familiar with the patient and their health history.
Approaches the dentist may use
To align teeth correctly, the dentist will likely offer three options: metal braces, clear braces or clear aligners. Stainless steel braces use constant pressure to move teeth. The braces consist of brackets, wires and elastics, which stay on the patient’s teeth for one to three years. Clear braces are similar but use porcelain or ceramic instead. This makes them look invisible. Clear aligners are plastic mouthguards that conform to the person’s mouth. The treatment time for aligners can be half or less than braces.
When the dentist may not be the right fit
Some patients may need extensive orthodontic work such as major jaw corrections or repairing gaps or a crowed mouth. In this scenario, it may be more effective to go to an orthodontist instead. The dentist may refer the patient to another professional anyway.
See what the dentist can do for you
Before you automatically go to the orthodontist for orthodontic care, there could be another option. Your dentist may have the training and knowledge to create a treatment plan with braces or another intervention. Speak to your dentist today and learn about the possibilities of straightening your teeth. You could be just a year or two away from a new and improved smile.
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