From preventing tooth decay to averting any possible gum disease and avoiding bad breath, good oral and dental hygiene does not only afford you that beautiful smile, boosting your self-confidence, but can also help ward off unwanted diseases. So if you're experiencing problems with your teeth, gums or jaw make sure you get in touch with one of these orthodontists listed on Yellow.
The importance of having a healthy smile
Our teeth play a vital role in our day-to-day life, helping us to chew food and have clear speech, while they also give our face its shape. What's more, they are a great asset, influencing our social life and our relationships.
But there are other important reasons why you should brush and floss on a daily basis. Apart from keeping your teeth for life and maintaining your appearance, good oral health has the ability to reduce the risk of diseases. How so? For instance, if you develop gum disease, this can get into your bloodstream, causing the blood to thicken. This, in turn, means that clots are more likely to form, while the heart will be deprived of things like nutrients and oxygen, increasing your risk of a potential heart stroke.
Another crucial factor that is often overlooked by patients are problems with jaw alignment. Having such issues means that you may end up having uneven wear, while it can make it difficult and at times even painful to chew or open your mouth. What's more, when your jaw is misaligned, there may be frequent accidental biting of your tongue and cheek. An orthodontist can help you overcome these specific problems.
So what does an orthodontist do exactly?
Typically speaking, an orthodontist focuses on the mouth, jaw, teeth, gums and nerves and has a particular interest on how the jaws and teeth are aligned. As a result, they can diagnose problems such as occlusions, overbites, overcrowded mouths, as well as misaligned teeth and jaws, while they prioritise on straightening their patients' teeth.
Yet, numerous orthodontists also deal with other conditions such as sleep apnea and gum diseases irrespective of whether these are caused by misalignment of the jaw or not. This means that whereas most may also be considered dentists, few dentists are also orthodontists.
What you should expect on your first appointment
In all likelihood, your dentist will refer you to a specialist after spotting a malocclusion or another sort of problem. Once you have set your appointment with the orthodontist, the first consultation involves assessing the jaw and teeth and x-rays or a mold of your teeth may be needed. Once you have been diagnosed with a specific problem, the professional will draw up a treatment plan specifically tailored for you that will best help you overcome this problem. If left untreated, any overbites, underbites, crossbites and open bites that you may have will only get worse over time.
What equipment is used by an orthodontist?
Bearing in mind that they help to improve the appearance and functionality of your teeth by realigning the jaw and teeth, they use different types of hardware as outlined below:
Dental braces: one of the most common hardware used, dental braces consist of brackets affixed to each individual tooth and an archwire which connects each bracket. Made from either metal, ceramic and nowadays, invisible materials, the purpose of braces is to gently push the teeth into their proper position. Mainly used on children and youths, adults are increasingly choosing to get braces to improve their oral appearance and overcome any issues they may have. The braces are removed once the desired result has been achieved, which is usually after several months or a year.
Retainers: these are usually worn after your braces have been removed so as to keep the teeth in place and prevent them from moving back to their original position. Retainers are custom-made, produced from either clear plastic or wires and may be either fixed or removable.
Headgear: with the aim to correct developmental problems like overbites and underbites, headgears and facemasks are used in conjunction with dental braces. The orthodontist designs a headgear which is then fitted around the head and is attached to the braces. Although they are less common nowadays due to newer alternatives like the Herbst appliance which can be placed in the inside of the mouth, these still remain an effective device most especially for children with severe bite abnormalities.
Where can you find an orthodontist in Malta and Gozo?
Local orthodontists either work from their own private practice or may form part of dental clinic whereby they work hand-in-hand with other dentists and dental specialists. Some may also be found in public health centres and at private or public hospitals. If you'd like to visit an orthodontist in his clinic, all you need to do is simply set an appointment, however, if you'd like to visit a professional in a public health facility, then you must have a referral letter from either your dentist or your GP.
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