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What is an orthodontist?

What is an orthodontist?

Do you have crooked teeth or an improper bite? Are you self-conscious about your smile? You may need to see an orthodontist. So, what is an orthodontist? Orthodontists are dentists who specialize in correcting bites and straightening teeth. They have 2 years of additional education in order to learn how to work specifically on this issue. They work with people of all ages, from children to adults.

What makes an orthodontist different from a dentist?

Both dentists and orthodontists are able to straighten teeth. The main difference is that an orthodontist has additional education and training in this area. For this reason, dentists usually do not provide orthodontic treatment and usually refer patients to an orthodontist. They know how to identify different types of bites and what kind of treatment is needed to correct them. Straight teeth are not only more beautiful, but they function better and are easier to clean. 

What are some common treatments that orthodontists provide?

  • Braces: This is the most common type of treatment. Braces use metal wires and brackets to slowly move teeth into the correct position. There are different types of braces, but traditional braces are usually the most common and the least expensive.
  • Invisible aligners:  These are clear, plastic trays that gently move teeth into place. They are not as noticeable as braces and can be removed for eating and brushing your teeth. Invisalign is a name brand that made this sort of treatment popular.
  • Retainers: These are devices that help keep teeth in their new, correct position after treatment. They are worn at night only.
  • Palatal expanders: These devices are used to widen the upper jaw. This is helpful for people who have teeth that crowd together.
  • Headgear: This is a device that helps to guide the growth of the face and jaws. It is usually worn at night.

How do I know if I need braces?

The best way to know for sure is to visit an orthodontist. They will be able to assess your teeth and bite and let you know what kind of treatment, if any, is necessary. Though, a dentist can usually tell as well, and will send you to an orthodontist in order to get treatment.

How much does orthodontic treatment usually cost?

The cost of treatment varies depending on what kind of treatment is necessary, the location of your orthodontist, and how long it will take. On average, braces can cost anywhere from $4000-$6000. Your dental insurance may cover a portion of the treatment cost. Payment plans are common with orthodontic treatment.

What is an initial appointment at the orthodontist like?

The first appointment is usually just a consultation. The orthodontist will assess your teeth and jaw and talk to you about what kind of treatment, if any, is necessary. They will also talk to you about what the treatment process will be like and what to expect.

What is it like getting braces?

The process of getting braces is actually pretty simple. First, the orthodontist will clean your teeth and apply a bonding agent to them. Then, they will attach brackets to your teeth and connect them with wires. Finally, they will put on rubber bands or springs to complete the process.

The whole process usually takes less than an hour. After getting braces, it is normal to experience some discomfort and soreness. This can be alleviated with over-the-counter pain medication.

How often do I have to go back to the orthodontist?

After getting braces, you will usually have to go back every four to eight weeks in order to get them tightened. As your treatment progresses, these appointments will become less frequent.

How long does treatment usually last?

The length of treatment depends on what kind of treatment you are getting and how severe your condition is. In general, though, most people wear braces for one to three years.

Are there any risks associated with orthodontic treatment?

There are very few risks associated with orthodontic treatment. The most common complication is soreness and discomfort after getting braces. In very rare cases, the wires from braces can damage the roots of teeth. Patients may also experience a broken bracket from time to time.


Orthodontic treatment is a great way to improve your smile and your oral health. It is important to consult with an orthodontist in order to find out what kind of treatment is right for you. Treatment can be costly, but there are many financing options available.

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