What Is an Orthodontist?

Just as some medical professionals choose to specialize in a particular field of medicine, dental professionals may also choose an area in which to specialize. An orthodontist is a professional who focuses on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of irregularities of the teeth, jaw and face.

Specialized Training

Dental school requires at least four years study at an accredited university, typically followed by residency. Orthodontists must complete an additional three years of specialized training beyond dental school. During this training, orthodontic students use clinical experience to further their education and test their knowledge. In order to become a member of the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), doctors must obtain the required training in both biomechanics and oral biology.

Issues Orthodontists Can Treat

Patients who visit an orthodontist may have a wide range of issues that need treatment beyond basic dental care. Some of the most common concerns that may require orthodontic treatment include:

• Malocclusions
• Overcrowding
• Anteroposterior deviations
• Face shape

Any misalignment of the teeth or jaws that is left untreated could cause future problems, such as speech impediments and poor oral hygiene.

Orthodontic Treatment Options

Following a thorough examination, an orthodontist will prescribe a method of treatment for each individual patient. While metal braces are often the most common choice, there are many other options available that may be more feasible for some patients including clear braces or aligners, or that may be used in conjunction with other treatments, including AcceleDent®, the fast, safe and gentle way to accelerate orthodontic treatment.

While regular visits to a dentist are essential to overall oral health, the treatment of crooked teeth or more complicated issues requires the extensive knowledge of an orthodontist. Understanding what an orthodontist is and what services this medical profession provides is important for those who are seeking orthodontic treatment.

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