What is The Difference Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist?

An orthodontist and a dentist are both dentists, however, only one went on to earn a specialty certificate in orthodontics. You can think of the distinction between the two the same you would any other doctor. Think of your dentist in terms of your primary care doctor, who maintains your day-to-day health. However, if a problem arises, such as a heart condition, your primary doctor will refer you to a specialist such as a cardiologist. An orthodontist is a specialized dentist who focuses solely on orthodontic treatment.

An orthodontist attended dental school and became a dentist, but instead of going right into practice after dental school, chose to attend additional years studying the specialty of orthodontics. Once the additional study was completed at an accredited orthodontic residency program, the dentist can now use the title of the orthodontist.

How Do I Know That a Doctor is Actually An Orthodontist?

We know that credentials and accreditations can be confusing, especially because today more general dentists are offering some form of orthodontics in their offices. You may see signs advertising Invisalign providers, or even the American Orthodontic Society. However, for the best care possible, seek out a board-certified orthodontist. Both of our orthodontists at Westwalk Orthodontic Group are board certified, signifying their commitment to providing the highest levels of patient care.

What is The Best Age to See an Orthodontist?

Any age is a great age to visit an orthodontist because orthodontic treatment can begin at any age. However, there is an ideal age, as outlined by the American Association of Orthodontists.. The AAO recommends children have their first visit with an orthodontist around the age of 7. At Westwalk Orthodontic Group, we actually prefer to begin treating children at the age of 8. We believe this is the ideal time for your child to begin his or her relationship with our practice. But it is never too late to start your orthodontic journey. In fact, every year the number of adult patients we treat increases. It is never too late to get the smile you deserve.

Why Should a Child Have an Initial Orthodontic Check-up Before Her Permanent Teeth Have Erupted?

Waiting until the permanent teeth have all erupted may limit the treatment options available. There are some problems that can and should be addressed before all of the permanent teeth are in so that we can achieve the best final result.

For example, if the upper front teeth of an eight-year-old child are positioned behind the lower front teeth, producing what we describe as crossbite, this can and should be addressed as early as possible. If you see a large opening between the upper and lower front teeth when the back teeth are in contact, we call this an open bite.

Frequently, open bites are the result of ongoing finger sucking and improper tongue position when swallowing. Often a simple appliance to prevent finger and tongue habits can be placed to correct such a problem. If we work on correcting this issue as early as possible, we can achieve a beautiful result much more efficiently and effectively than if we wait.

If an upper jaw is narrower than the lower jaw, you may frequently see crowding of the upper front teeth as well as a crossbite of the back teeth. This can be corrected by expanding the upper jaw with a device called a rapid palatal expander, sometimes called an expander.

When appropriate and successful, this can create additional space for permanent teeth, which otherwise would not have room to erupt normally.

Will My Child Need to Have Permanent Teeth Removed in Order to Straighten His Smile?

In cases of severe crowding, or cases when teeth are protruding so that normal lip closure and swallowing are prevented, it may be necessary to make the space needed by extracting teeth. However, in the majority of cases, removal of permanent teeth is not necessary to achieve an ideal result.

What Will Happen at The Initial Examination Appointment?

The initial appointment is fairly easy and quick, usually taking about an hour. We’ll take any necessary images of your mouth, as well as X-rays, so that we can get a complete picture in order to make an accurate diagnosis. The orthodontist will complete an oral exam. Once we have all of this information, the orthodontist can make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan, if treatment is indicated. At this time, we will discuss the treatment options that are the best to correct your issue, and discuss financial obligations.

How Do I Know If My Child Needs Orthodontic Treatment?

It isn’t always possible to tell if your child needs orthodontic treatment. Your child’s teeth may appear straight, but that doesn’t mean that the bite is properly aligned. Some orthodontic issues aren’t immediately apparent to the eye. Likewise, there are some issues that may at first glance look like orthodontic treatment is required, but as your child grows and their jaw grows along with them, the issues go away on their own. In order to determine if your child could benefit from orthodontic treatment, schedule a consultation with a board-certified orthodontist.

Why is Treatment So Important?

Many people believe orthodontic treatment is only cosmetic, but that just isn’t the truth. While one goal of treatment is certainly a more attractive smile, the ultimate goal is a healthy smile. Misaligned teeth can be harder to keep clean, leading to decay and gum disease, and a misaligned bite can cause a host of issues, such as abnormal wear of the enamel, problems with speaking and chewing, and jaw and head pain. A straighter smile isn’t just a more attractive smile, it’s a healthier smile, too.

How Much Does Orthodontic Treatment Cost?

The cost of orthodontic treatment varies from patient to patient, based on the diagnosis and the scope of the issue to be treated. Cost can only be determined after an examination has occurred and diagnostic records have been obtained. Once this is complete, we can outline a treatment plan.

This treatment plan defines the length of treatment, as well as the type of braces that will be required to correct the individual issue. This information is provided at the consultation and all fees are explained in detail, along with payment options.

Do You Offer Payment Plans?

At Westwalk Orthodontic Group, we believe orthodontic treatment should be affordable for everyone. To that end, we offer a variety of payment plans to ensure treatment can comfortably fit into any budget. We also offer no-interest payment plans. Each of our plans is tailored to fit your specific needs.

Can Braces Be Removed For a Special Occasion, Such As a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, Wedding, School Photos, Etc.?

While braces are only effective when they are on your teeth, yes we can remove your braces for a special occasion and replace them after. We typically only remove the upper braces because those are the most visible. If you choose this, it will require using new braces during replacement and requires additional time. There is also an extra fee for this service because of that.

I Don’t Want to Draw More Attention to Myself During Treatment. Do You Have Braces That Are Less Noticeable?

Yes! In fact, there are more aesthetically pleasing braces options on the market today than ever before, and more adults seeking treatment than ever before. We know many of our patients want to straighten their smiles discreetly, so we offer clear ceramic braces as well as clear aligners. Our Norwalk ceramic braces work just as well as conventional metal braces but are much more discrete. And clear aligners are virtually invisible, so you can straighten your teeth without other people even knowing.