Stunning and healthy smiles are in the spotlight this week as the Australian Dental Association celebrates Dental Health Week from August 6 to 12.
Designed to highlight the benefits of a beautiful and healthy smile, the event profiles all areas of dental health including oral hygiene.
With orthodontics being a major contributor to ongoing dental health, Norwest Orthodontics is set to join the festivities. Here’s an insight into the orthodontic profession and its benefit to dental health.
The field of orthodontics
For as long as human’s have existed, we’ve been finding ways to straighten our teeth, but the field of orthodontics was only first officially recognised in 1901.
Orthodontics has come a long way in the century since, as techniques, skills and technology have all improved.
What is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a highly trained dental specialist who has studied for many years to attain their credentials. Their area of expertise lies in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of dental and facial irregularities to correctly straighten teeth.
In other words, they assess and correct crooked teeth and misaligned bites to create a winning smile.
The difference between an orthodontist and a dentist
It’s interesting to note that all orthodontists are dentists, with general dentistry a pre-requisite for those who choose to go on and become orthodontists.
On top of a general dentistry qualification, orthodontists must have two years’ clinical experience in general dentistry and then undergo a further three years specialist training at university. Only then can they apply to become an accredited orthodontist.
When and why to visit an orthodontist
There’s often a misconception that orthodontists only treat teenagers. The reality is we see people of all ages from all walks of life for a variety of reasons.
So, who do we see and why?
Young children – The Australian Society of Orthodontists (ASO) recommends children first visit an orthodontist at around the age of seven. This allows us to assess and pre-emptively manage any emerging problems with teeth alignment and the jaw. It’s now well recognised that early orthodontic intervention can help mitigate problems down the track and can also eliminate the need for tooth extractions.
Teens – The teen years are a common age for orthodontic treatments such as alignments through braces. By the time children reach their teens all adult have come through and we can work to straighten teeth and correct the bite while patients are still in their formative years.
Adults – More and more adults are turning to orthodontists to fix or improve their smile. The ASO notes more than half of the Australian population (55%) feels self-conscious about their teeth, and almost two thirds (62%) want to do something to fix their crooked smiles.
In recent years this has seen a spike in adults embracing orthodontic treatment, with new options like Invisalign offering a discrete treatment style.
The role of orthodontics in dental health
Orthodontics may create a beautiful smile, but it also plays an essential role in oral and general health, along with psychological wellbeing.
The reality is straight teeth are easier to clean and this helps prevent cavities, gum disease and tooth loss. These issues are recognised by the World Health Organization as being serious problems globally.
Their statistics indicate worldwide, 60–90% of school children and nearly 100% of adults have dental cavities.
Importantly, poor oral hygiene, gum diseases and tooth loss are often a pre-cursor to more serious problems such as cardiovascular disease.
Meanwhile, recent years have also seen orthodontics recognised as a way to treat and alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnoea by repositioning the jaw.
About Norwest Orthodontics
Norwest Orthodontics specialises in helping you achieve a great smile, no matter your age. We feature a range of orthodontic treatments that span from early intervention right through to remedial adult work.
We also have a suite of treatments available that include discrete, removeable Invisalign braces, and welcome the opportunity to work with you to achieve the smile you’ve always dreamed of.