Will Your Dentist Refer You to an Orthodontist?

That gap in your smile can be charming, or it may need to be closed. Your dentist will help you figure out the benefits and disadvantages of the move, but when it comes time to take action, your dentist will refer you to an orthodontist.

“An orthodontist has techniques to straighten and rotate teeth if they are crowded or unevenly spaced,” says Dr. Carol Ford from her Phoenix cosmetic dentistry office. “An orthodontist is not just for children, many adults have problems with teeth fitting correctly in the jaw as well.”

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You may think an orthodontist’s main job is cosmetic—straightening teeth to give you that evenly-spaced, bright smile. Crooked teeth signal some important health concerns, too.  WebMD gives some excellent reasons not to ignore crooked or poorly spaced teeth.

Crooked teeth and misaligned bites can:

Interfere with proper chewing.

Make keeping teeth clean more of a challenge, increasing the risk of tooth decay, cavities, and gingivitis.

Strain the teeth, jaws, and muscles, increasing the risk of breaking a tooth.

Make people feel self-conscious about their appearance and affect their self-esteem.

“What your dentist is looking for is a long-term result,” says Dr. Ford. “Sometimes a dentist can shave off an outer layer of tooth structure to fix tooth rotation or misalignment, but if the teeth are rotated as a factor of placement, an orthodontist will provide a long-lasting solution,” she explains.

It may disappoint you to hear you need to wear braces as an adult, but ask your dentist about the long-term benefits. While braces or retainers do take time to do the work, the end result should be the most important consideration.

“Some times a bit of fine tuning will be all that’s needed,” says Dr. Ford. “But an ethical dentist is not going for a short-term answer, but rather a long-term solution for the patient.”  It’s the concern for the long-term health of her patients that contributed to Dr. Ford’s being recommended by her peers as one of the best dentists in the Valley.

If you do need braces, ask for options and be patient. A youthful smile takes years off your look and adds to your self-confidence. That’s worth the wait.

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