While some dentists can perform advanced dental procedures, such as installing dental braces, keep in mind that there’s a big difference between them and an orthodontist. Orthodontists have undergone special training courses. After completing a bachelor’s degree in dentistry, they still need another two to three years of residency and should pass the American Board of Orthodontics exams.
Just like general dentists, you orthodontist in Stafford, Virginia also aims to improve the overall oral health of their patients. They can also perform common dental treatments, but they focus more on misaligned teeth and jaw or malocclusions.
Diagnosis and Classifications of Malocclusions
An orthodontist needs to run several dental exams to diagnose teeth malocclusions. They need to examine your teeth using dental x-rays. The key here is to see the alignment of your teeth and jaw. The treatment plan may vary depending on the dental problem and its severity. Here are the three major classifications:
Class 1 – This is when the orthodontists detect an overlap between the upper teeth and the lower teeth, which usually happens with incisors, canines, and premolars. At this stage, there are no signs of biting problems and overlap is only slight.
Class 2 – Here, the orthodontist can detect severe overbite problems. This condition is also known as retrognathism, which can cause discomfort to patients.
Class 3 – This is when the patient has severe under bite problems. They call this condition prognathism, which means the lower jaw protrudes forward. Patients may feel pain and discomfort.
Your orthodontist may recommend a variety of treatment options for your condition. These include wearing dental braces to achieve proper alignment of the teeth and jaw. They also need to address crowded teeth and may require reshaping, bonding, or dental capping.
For severe cases, you might need to undergo surgery to reshape or shorten the jaw. Your orthodontist can also apply wires or plates for better stability.
Knowing the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist is important. This should help you find the right professional to provide the dental treatment you need.