At Timberlea Dental Clinic in Fort McMurray, one of the most common questions our patients ask us is: Do I need to see an orthodontist to fix my tooth alignment problems? Answering this question is best done in the office since your dentist will have your most up-to-date dental information. This way, your dentist can provide a more detailed answer based on your specific circumstances. Still, it can be helpful to have a baseline understanding of orthodontics in Fort McMurray before speaking with your dentist.
There are many reasons for patients to undergo braces treatment. While some have crowding and overlapping teeth, some teeth are turned or tilted, and some are interfering with a comfortable and effective bite. The way in which your teeth and jaw are configured not only determines the appearance of the lower half of the face but could also impact how susceptible teeth are to decay and discoloration.
Teeth that are well aligned across the dental arches are exposed on either side, allowing a toothbrush to easily wash away plaque bacteria and floss to be comfortably passed between the teeth. Even with the straightest teeth, however, up to 40% of a tooth’s surface can exist between them. When teeth become crowded, the surface area that is not available to a toothbrush increases along with the number of crevices that food and bacteria can get stuck in. The acid that results from the bacteria irritates the gums and causes them to bleed when flossed.
Staining potential is increased with crowded teeth since plaque is often more present. The presence of plaque implies an increased potential for the development of its calcified cousin – tartar. Tartar is easily stained but not easily removed – in fact, only a professional cleaning will remove tartar once it has developed.
What Is the Difference Between an Orthodontist and a Dentist?
The primary difference between an orthodontist and a dentist is that a dentist is a general practitioner, and an orthodontist is a specialist in jaw and teeth alignment. That means that an orthodontist has undertaken additional training after becoming a dentist to specialize in this area of interest. You can think of your Fort McMurray dentist as a family doctor and a surgeon as a specialist (orthodontic specialist). In the past, straightening your teeth was a job suited only for orthodontists. These days, it is possible to get dental braces in Fort McMurray without having to consult with an orthodontist, depending upon the treatment you choose and the degree of your alignment concerns.
Not every dental clinic in Fort McMurray will offer metal braces since metal braces are typically used for more complex cases of bite or alignment problems. In these cases, your dentist in Fort McMurray may refer you to be seen by an orthodontist to have braces installed.
Invisalign® in Fort McMurray
Patients with less complex alignment problems may consider Invisalign® in Fort McMurray, which is commonly offered by your general dentist. This process utilizes Invisalign® aligners to straighten the teeth using the pressure of its snug fit.
Invisalign® therapy is typically complete in 12-18 months and offers significant benefits over metal braces for those without complex challenges. The trays used in this system are fabricated of a nearly transparent plastic that is clipped in place over the teeth like custom sports or night guard. The difference here is, the aligners are changed out for the next set in their succession every 2-3 weeks (or as recommended by your dentist). With every change in aligners comes a slightly different fit, offering precision pressure in the direction of correct placement. These adjustments in aligners typically offer only mild discomfort compared to the more abrupt adjustments associated with metal braces.
The Invisalign® system allows you to straighten your teeth without anyone noticing, but they must be worn at (almost) all times and always over-clean teeth. Patients should remove the Invisalign® aligners before eating and replace them once all food debris and bacteria have been removed by brushing thoroughly. This is because similar to crowded teeth, aligners can encourage bacterial growth and decay due to their snug fit and majority coverage of the teeth. The good news? You can eat whatever you want while the aligners are removed!
At Timberlea Dental Clinic, we regularly see new and existing patients to offer a consultation around their suitability for Invisalign® therapy. Using visual evidence as well as digital aids such as a 3D scanner, we review the possibilities with our patients and outline the required commitment for oral hygiene with this system. Patients who are too young or who suffer from teeth grinding at night may not be a fit for the Invisalign® system. Good candidates for Invisalign® can get started right away by giving their dentist the thumbs-up to send their information to a lab where their aligners will be made.