Besides Braces, What Else Does an Orthodontist Do?

Besides Braces, What Else Does an Orthodontist Do?
Posted on 02/15/2016
confusedWhenever someone says Orthodontics or Orthodontist, people’s minds automatically race to images of braces. But, orthodontics provide services for more than just braces, specifically in the field of the alignment of teeth or the repositioning of jaws, although braces are their primary specialty. Orthodontists have many treatment options and services to fix these common problems. Dr. Tyler Pritchard of Pritchard Orthodontics near Hockinson is here to explain what services Orthodontists provide.

1. Braces: Although this is not the only service Orthodontists provide, it is their main one. Braces consist of brackets, wires, and bands which are continually tightened over a specific amount of time to straighten your teeth. Braces are used by many patients near Hockinson looking to align their smile and create perfect picture teeth. They can also be used by patients with overbites, underbites, over crowding, or gapped teeth, in order to fix these problems. Most braces are metal with fun colored brackets for children however they also come in ceramic and clear colors for those who do not want their braces to be extremely noticeable.

2. Space Maintainers: When baby teeth are lost earlier than normal, space fillers need to be put in so that other teeth do not grow into the space meant for the missing tooth. These space maintainers are used to keep this space open until more teeth fall out and adult teeth begin to grow in. Fixed Space Maintainers work with a band which is attached to one tooth and a wire which is extended to the tooth on the other side of the missing gap in order to stretch and keep it open.

3. Aligners: Like braces, aligners help to straighten teeth and align them. They are used by those looking to fix underbites, overbites, open bites, cross bites, or crowding. Aligners, most often Invisalign near Hockinson, are clear trays which fit specifically around your teeth in order to mold them to your perfect smile. These aligners are made of a plastic material which makes them virtually invisible to others.

4. Jaw Repositioning Appliances: Jaw repositioning appliances, sometimes called splints, are used to move either the upper or the lower jaw in order for the jaw as a whole to close more naturally. Most often, Dr. Pritchard uses this appliance for patients with temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ.

5. Lip and Cheek Bumpers: Sometimes, patient’s lips and cheeks can put pressure on teeth and cause some pain or discomfort. Lip and cheek bumpers help keep lips and cheeks away from the teeth and relieve the pressure, pain, or discomfort which it might be causing.

6. Palatal Expander: A palatal expander is used to widen the curve of the upper jaw. It is a plastic tray which fits on the roof of the mouth and through screws, pushes out the bones and joints in the mouth.

7. Removable Retainers: After braces or Invisalign, Dr. Pritchard suggests a retainer to keep the teeth from shifting back to their original position. These retains come in the shape or either a plate with is put on the roof of the mouth with a metal bar which runs across the top front teeth or in the shape of a plastic aligner. More often than not, these aligners are worn during the night.

8. Headgear: Finally, Orthodontists provide headgear for patients who need to slow the growth of their jaw. Headgear is a strap placed around the back of the head which is attached to a metal wire in the front of the mouth. This slows the growth of the jaw and makes sure that teeth are in the right place and fit nicely with the jaw.

Orthodontists provide many more services than just traditional metal braces. Dr. Pritchard has services for a variety of oral related issues including the alignment of teeth and the repositioning the jaw. Pritchard Orthodontics wants to make sure you receive the perfect treatment and finding the perfect orthodontic appliance is the first step. For more information of what services Dr. Tyler Pritchard and Pritchard Orthodontics can provide, please contact us by visiting our office near Hockinson or calling 360-667-4111.