Did you know that dentists and orthodontists aren’t the same thing? A lot of people don’t know the difference—and there’s no shame in that! But at Smiles from the Hart, we want to make things a bit simpler by answering some of your orthodontic FAQs!
What Are Orthodontics?
This is a good place to start! The best way to explain this is to show how we compare to our dental counterparts. Let’s take a look.
- An orthodontist (like Dr. Hart) specializes in the identification, prevention, and management of dental and facial irregularities, with a particular focus on addressing misaligned teeth. Their primary responsibility involves the correction and alignment of smiles and the resolution of bite issues using orthodontic appliances.
- On the other hand, a general dentist serves as a general dental care provider, comparable to a primary care physician in the medical field. Dentists provide a wide range of services, encompassing the diagnosis and treatment of various dental problems, such as tooth decay, gum disease, and oral infections. Their responsibilities include performing dental cleanings, administering fillings, and conducting extractions.
Do I Need Orthodontic Treatment?
There are quite a few issues that constitute a visit to an office like ours. But these are some of the common ones we encounter:
- Crooked Teeth
- Impacted Teeth
- Malocclusion (Misaligned bite)
- Spacing Issues
- Jaw Issues
In terms of treatment options, there are three main ones that address a number of these problems:
- Metal braces are usually the first option for kids but are equally reliable for adult patients. We carry Damon self-ligating braces at our practice.
- Clear braces (aka ceramic braces) have the same objective as metal braces, but the brackets match the color of your teeth using a ceramic material.
- Our office is thrilled to offer Invisalign, which is a specialized appliance, usually for adults and teenagers. This is the most natural option for straightening your teeth. New sets are worn each week to shift your teeth into their corrected positions.
What To Expect At Your Orthodontist
Our orthodontic team will perform a comprehensive examination, utilizing tools such as x-rays to assess your condition. Key components of our practice include:
- Custom Treatment Plans: Following our diagnosis, we develop individualized treatment plans that detail the specific orthodontic procedures required to address your alignment issues.
- Patient Education: We offer educational guidance to our patients and their families on subjects such as orthodontic appliances, maintaining oral hygiene, and making dietary considerations during the course of treatment.
- Treatment for All Ages: That’s right—we do not reserve treatment for one age group because orthodontic issues (sadly) don’t discriminate! Wherever you’re at in your life, we can meet you there and present you with a solution.
An Example of Treatment
Due to the bespoke nature of orthodontics, everyone’s experience looks a bit different. But we want to outline a general order of things for you that will likely resemble your experience with us!
- Consultation: We start with an easy step—a complimentary consultation with us. During this visit, we can evaluate your dental and orthodontic needs, utilizing tools such as x-rays, 3D scans, and/or teeth impressions to accurately diagnose any issues.
- Custom Treatment Plan: Following the assessment, our team devises a customized treatment plan specifically addressing your alignment concerns. From there, we will discuss the recommended treatment options with you.
- Orthodontic Appliances: At this point, we decide which of those three alignment treatments from earlier are best fit for your experience and lay out what that process will look like.
- Regular Appointments: Once your appliance is in place, regular follow-up visits become a crucial part of your maintenance process. We make necessary adjustments and monitor progress to ensure everything progresses smoothly.
- Oral Hygiene/Diet: We always emphasize the importance of maintaining excellent oral hygiene while using any appliance, focusing particularly on brushing and flossing to combat decay and plaque formation. Additionally, we advise caution with crunchy, sticky, or chewy foods, as they can cause damage. Feel free to reach out to our office for any necessary repairs.
- Retainers: Upon completing your treatment, the likely final step involves the use of retainers. These are worn to preserve your results over the long term.
At Your Service, Always
Hopefully, this blog has given you a more developed idea of what to expect from our practice. Above all else, our mission is to help our patients live their best lives by making their smile the best it can be. Dr. Hart and the rest of our team are committed to making dental dreams into a reality! We have two outstanding offices in Murfreesboro (615-890-7246) and Gallatin (615-452-2868), where you can book your free consultation now!