When it comes to maintaining your smile and overall oral health, regularly scheduled dentist appointments can make all the difference. Yet, there are times when you potentially need additional treatments beyond those preventive exams and cleanings. When this occurs, it helps to know when to choose a family dentist over an orthodontist.
The Differences Between a Family Dentist and an Orthodontist
The more you know about the differences between a family dentist and an orthodontist, the easier your decision can be when it comes to which one to choose for your dental needs.
A family dentist provides a wide range of services and procedures for everyone in your household, including children and seniors.
Overall, your family dentist is your go-to for all dental health-related issues, including gum disease, tooth decay, broken or cracked teeth, and oral cancer. They can also refer you to other trusted specialists, such as orthodontists, whenever necessary.
While the orthodontist is also a dentist, they are highly specialized and provide only certain services and treatments to patients.
To be more specific, an orthodontist specializes in jaw alignment and moving teeth into proper placement. Offered procedures usually include correcting the following:
gaps between teeth,
crowded or protruding teeth,
bite issues, such as overbites, underbites, and crossbites,
spacing issues, and
Patients usually seek the help of an orthodontist if they want to improve their smile, experience serious problems with crooked, overcrowded, or misaligned teeth, or their teeth in some way affect the ability to chew food or speak properly.
When to Choose a Family Dentist Over an Orthodontist
When it comes to whether you should choose a family dentist over an orthodontist, first consider what the issue is, its cause, and what you are hoping to achieve with treatment.
In general, contact your family dentist for any of the following situations:
You want to maintain the health of your gums and teeth (preventive care)
You have concerns over the health of your mouth in general
You believe you may have tooth decay, a cavity, loose filling, or gum disease
You wish to improve the look of your smile
In many instances, your family dentist will provide a variety of helpful services, such as preventative, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry, to care for whatever needs arise throughout the year. The advantage to this is that your dentist already knows about your oral health and previous issues and treatments and can facilitate a faster review and better solutions geared toward your circumstances.
There are times, however, when answering the question of whether to choose a family dentist over an orthodontist can be challenging. You may be looking for beneficial solutions to help your child’s teeth align more properly, or you yourself have a misalignment and wish to have a straighter smile.
Fortunately, your family dentist may be able to help with these, offering certain orthodontic services which will be beneficial. For example, here at Lifetime Dental Health, we offer our families two orthodontic options – Invisalign and a Six Months Smiles® System.
Invisalign is a short-term treatment for straightening teeth with the use of clear, removable aligners. You simply remove them when you need to drink, eat, or brush your teeth. These aligners are a good option for adults who are looking for something other than traditional braces.
Six Months Smiles® System
Our Six Month Smiles® System is for those patients 16 and older and consists of wearing clear braces to align those teeth that are most visible when you smile. These teeth are easier to adjust than the molars situated further back in your mouth, so you’ll only need to wear the braces for six months to achieve positive results.
These clear braces are a great option for those experiencing:
crowded, gapped, or misaligned teeth in the “smile zone,”
a misalignment of previous orthodontic work, or
a desire to obtain a straighter smile without requiring traditional braces.
While there are advantages to choosing a family dentist who offers orthodontic treatments, much will depend upon your own particular circumstances. Start by scheduling an informational consultation with your dentist to gain an overview of your current dental health and the options available to you.
Contact Lifetime Dental Health – Your Family Dentist in Columbus
When it comes to all your family’s dental needs, look no further than Lifetime Dental Health, located here in Columbus. We not only provide preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry services but also offer orthodontic solutions for those wishing to improve their smile. Contact our Columbus office today to find out more and see what options are right for you.
Wisdom teeth are four teeth (referred to as third molars) that are located in the back of the mouth. If wisdom teeth emerge, or erupt, through the gums, they typically erupt when a person is between 17-25 years old.
Wisdom teeth become impacted when they are obstructed by teeth nearby and don’t have enough space to emerge fully.
There are two main types of impacted wisdom teeth. They are:
Partially impacted: This is where some of the tooth is visible
Fully impacted: This is where the entire tooth is below the gum line
In either situation, they need to be examined to determine the best course of action, which may include extraction. If you require extraction, it is usually an outpatient procedure that includes sedation and tooth removal.
Even if you aren’t feeling any pain, an impacted wisdom tooth is an invitation for bacteria to enter and create tooth decay. If left to grow, impacted wisdom teeth can create damage to adjacent teeth and result in inflammation, severe pain, and even infection in the mouth and jaw area.
Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Oftentimes, you won’t experience any symptoms with impacted wisdom teeth. However, when your impacted wisdom teeth are problematic, your symptoms can either be mild or severe.
Below are some symptoms that a person with an impacted wisdom tooth, or impacted wisdom teeth, might experience. These symptoms are listed to help you identify possible manifestations of this issue at home. If you believe you have any of these symptoms, please contact our team and set up an appointment.
Swollen, tender, or painful gums
Gum redness or bleeding
Swollen jaw or difficulty opening one’s jaw and mouth
Disagreeable taste in your mouth
Earache, headache, or jaw-ache with the above symptoms
Causes of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
There is not always enough space in the mouth for wisdom teeth to grow without accidentally pushing other teeth out of the way. Wisdom teeth might grow in sideways in an attempt to seek out more room in the mouth. An incoming wisdom tooth can grow towards another tooth, such as the second molar, and lead to overlap or collision. This is often the cause of toothaches or pain in the mouth.
In opposition, a wisdom tooth can grow away from the second molar, towards the back of the mouth, leading to tooth or jaw pain. Or, possibly, a wisdom tooth might just barely poke through the gums, in an attempt to emerge. This valiant effort of the wisdom tooth attempting to emerge can lead to swollen, tender, or bleeding gums.
All of these atypical growth patterns will result in an impacted wisdom tooth. Thus, when the eruption of wisdom teeth leads to abnormal growth patterns, a person can experience the aforementioned symptoms.
Many people feel these treatable symptoms when experiencing impacted wisdom teeth. This is a common experience for young adults! Often, young adults can ask their peer groups about experiences with impacted wisdom teeth and wisdom tooth surgery, and garner some information about their peers’ experiences.
What if I Have an Impacted Wisdom Tooth?
The patients at Lifetime Dental Health in Columbus, OH are welcomed in at any time for an x-ray, which is the proper way to diagnose an impacted wisdom tooth. A simple x-ray of the jaw can reveal all of your teeth’s growth patterns, including wisdom teeth growth patterns. This might help you and your dentist decide if you would like to undergo wisdom tooth removal surgery. Our team will also examine your mouth for impacted wisdom teeth at every 6-month biannual visit.
Some of our patients might benefit from the surgical removal of an impacted wisdom tooth to eradicate their symptoms and prevent future issues like infection. Wisdom tooth surgery is done in an outpatient setting and the person undergoing wisdom tooth surgery will return home on the same day that they start their procedure. Follow-up care is done at home, typically utilizing pain medications, ice packs, and rest to accelerate the healing process.
If you start to feel symptoms from an impacted wisdom tooth, it is unlikely for such symptoms to disappear on their own. This would be the best time to contact our team and have them assess your teeth. If a person has an impacted or growing wisdom tooth, but does not have associated symptoms, they might not need removal surgery.
Impacted wisdom teeth cannot be prevented using any particular method. However, dental health is highly important and interconnected. So, taking care of one’s mouth and attending regular 6-month dentist appointments is crucial to a healthy mouth. As always, it is important to practice daily dental hygiene, like brushing and flossing, to support your beautiful teeth!
If you believe you have an impacted wisdom tooth, contact us here at Lifetime Dental Health.