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Riverton, Utah

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Orthodontics: Frequently Asked Questions

Why Select an Orthodontist?

Just as there are specialists in medicine (such as cardiologists, gastroenterologists, neurologists, etc.), there are specialists in dentistry. Orthodontists are dental specialists who dedicate their professional lives to correcting misaligned teeth and jaws.
Orthodontists are qualified dentists, who after graduating from dental school, go on to additional full-time university-based education in an accredited orthodontic residency program supervised by orthodontists. That training lasts at least two academic years. By learning about tooth movement (orthodontics) and guidance of facial development (... Read more

What are the Benefits of Orthodontics?

Straight teeth help an individual to effectively bite, chew and speak. Straight teeth contribute to healthy teeth and gums. Properly aligned teeth and jaws may alleviate or prevent physical health problems. Teeth that work better also tend to look better. An attractive smile is a pleasant "side effect" of orthodontic treatment.
An attractive smile is a wonderful asset. It contributes to self-esteem, self-confidence and self-image—important qualities at every age. A pleasing appearance is a vital component of self-confidence. A person's self-esteem often improves as orthodontic treatment brings teeth, lips and face into proportion. In this way, orthodontic treatment can benefit social and career success, as well as improve a person's general attitude toward life.
You may be surprised to learn that straight teeth are less prone to decay and injury. Decay results when the bacteria in plaque (a colorless, sticky film composed of bacteria, food and saliva) feed on carbohydrates (sugar and starch) we eat or drink to produce acids that can cause cavities. Plaque can also increase the risk for periodontal (gum) disease. As for injuries to teeth, protruding upper ... Read more
Untreated orthodontic problems may become worse. They may lead to tooth decay, gum disease (see photo below), destruction of the bone that holds teeth in place, and chewing and digestive difficulties. Orthodontic problems can cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces (see photo below), inefficient chewing function, excessive stress on gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth, or misalignment ... Read more

When should I first be seen by an orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children get a check-up with an orthodontist no later than age seven. Although only a few orthodontic problems need to be corrected at that age, an early exam allows the orthodontist to offer advice and guidance as to when the appropriate age to start treatment would be. Let your orthodontist guide you as to when to start treatment. ... Read more

What happens at my first visit?

This is a time for orthodontists to listen to patient concerns and to provide an orthodontic examination. The orthodontist will likely be able to indicate whether or not treatment is needed and if needed, when the best time to start treatment would be. Typical steps prior to beginning treatment include gathering orthodontic records to provide specific information to tailor a treatment plan for ... Read more

How are teeth moved?

Teeth respond to the gentle forces that are applied to them. "Braces" are a combination of "brackets" and "wires". Brackets are the part of the braces that attach to the teeth and act as "handles" that help control movement of the teeth. Braces require a wire called an "archwire" that connects the brackets and provides the forces to steer the teeth in the proper direction. It's actually the wires that move teeth. The interaction of brackets and archwires enables the orthodontist to have three-... Read more