Who is Orthodontist?
Orthodontists are qualified dentists, who after graduating from dental school, go on to additional full-time, post-doctoral education in an accredited orthodontic specialty residency program supervised by orthodontists. That advanced specialty training lasts at least two academic years, sometimes more, and includes the study of subjects in biomedical, behavioral and basic sciences, oral biology, and advanced biomechanics. By learning in depth about tooth movement (orthodontics) and guidance of facial and jaw growth and development (dentofacial orthopedics), orthodontists are the uniquely trained experts in dentistry to straighten teeth and align jaws. By the way, “ortho” comes from Greek for “straight” or “correct” and “dontic” means “teeth”, and “dentofacial” is from Greek for “teeth” plus “face” while “ortho” again means “straight” and “pedic” means “child.”
ORTHODONTICS AND ORTHOPEDICS
Essentially, while orthodontics entails the management of tooth movement, dentofacial orthopedics involves the guidance of facial/jaw growth and development, which occurs largely during childhood. In both cases, appliances are frequently used – the more familiar braces for orthodontics, and other specialized appliances like expanders, headgears, and bite advancers (depending on what facial/jaw abnormalities are present) for dentofacial orthopedics.
Sometimes orthopedic treatment may precede conventional braces, but often the two are accomplished at the same time. So if your child gets braces and an expander, he’s undergoing orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics!
WHY ORTHODONTIC TREATEMENT?
There are many advantages to well-aligned teeth, jaws and bite, including easier cleaning, better oral hygiene, clearer speech, and a more pleasant, attractive smile and facial appearance. Though orthodontic treatment can be effective at any age, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the first orthodontic assessment should be performed around the age of seven.