Regular dental visits can be unnerving as it is, so being faced with your first orthodontist appointment can be an especially daunting idea. We at Bowman DMD in Fort Walton Beach, FL, want to help give first-time patients a clear picture of what they can expect from their appointment.
What Should You Expect From a First Visit to the Orthodontist?
Identifying the Issues
When you arrive for your orthodontist visit, the first thing we’ll do is try to get a clear picture of the condition of your teeth. If you already have some concerns, we’ll pay that area special attention to help figure out the root of the issue. Once we determine the cause, we can begin to problem solve and find you a good solution.
Whether your visit is preventative or to look into something specific, we will be checking for any additional issues that could be hard or impossible to spot on your own. Our goal is to figure out exactly what is going on so that we can get you on the best possible path towards a healthier smile. The better picture we get when it comes to your oral health, the better we can help fix any problems or concerns.
When Should That First Visit Be?
It’s generally recommended that the first appointment takes place at or before the patient hits 7 years old. At that age, there are both adult and baby teeth present, and our doctors will be able to see if there are any early alignment issues developing.
However, there are many adults that either can’t remember if they’ve ever had an orthodontic appointment, or know for a fact that they’ve only been to regular dental appointments. In that case, we recommend setting an appointment up as soon as you can, especially if you have concerns about your dental health or tooth alignment.
Have Your Different Options Laid Out
Once we have a good idea of what’s going on, we’ll be able to start a treatment consultation. We’ll give you a written summary of your dental condition and let you know if there has been a diagnosis. We’ll tell you what treatment we recommend (if any), and you can let us know your goals.
Each case is individual, so what you can expect from your first visit and consultation partly depends on what concerns and goals you have relating to your dental health. Together, we’ll work to set up a timeline for the treatment and let you know the estimated costs. During the entire process, we strive to give each patient plenty of time to ask any questions they have, and for us to answer any concerns.
Common Reasons an Adult Sets up Their First Orthodontic Appointment
There are many reasons an adult may find themselves walking through our doors. There could be dental issues they’ve dealt with their whole lives that they are only now having the chance to have fixed. Or, there could be dental concerns that developed later on in life. No matter the case, our doctors and staff are ready to give you the answers and treatment you need to reach your goals.
Prevent or Delay Future Tooth Loss
There are many dental conditions that contribute to early tooth loss. Some of these conditions include:
- Gum diseases, such as gingivitis or periodontitis
- Untreated cavities
- The development of plaque into tartar
- Loose or cracked teeth due to injury
- Misaligned teeth
The diagnosis and treatment of these issues can help you delay or avoid early tooth decay and loss.
Fix Teeth That Are Difficult To Clean
When teeth are overcrowded or overlap, it can create spaces that are very difficult to clean well at home, even with your best efforts. This will allow plaque to eventually harden into tartar, which can only be removed safely by a professional. By not being able to thoroughly clean their teeth, patients with overcrowded teeth are more likely to suffer from gum disease and tooth decay.
Crowded teeth often cause the jaw to be misaligned, which can cause stress headaches and jaw pain. It can even, at times, interfere with sleep. By having their crooked teeth straightened, patients are able to clean their teeth more effectively. This is not only better for their oral health, but since poor oral hygiene has been linked to heart and lung issues, cleaner teeth are better for the body as a whole.
Address Tooth Issues That Cause Them To Be Self-Conscious
Misaligned teeth can not only cause practical issues when it comes to cleaning, but they can also cause a patient to feel self-conscious about their smile. Some people who are self-conscious about their teeth don’t like to grin for pictures, and may even cover their mouth while laughing to hide their teeth.
You shouldn’t need to hide your pearly whites. We want everyone to be able to flash their smile with pride. Having tooth alignment corrected can help patients feel more confident. If you have a special event coming up, let your orthodontist know about it ahead of time so you can get your smile looking its best for the occasion.
They Want To Reduce Gaps in Their Teeth
Gaps in-between the teeth aren’t always a problem, but they can be if food particles are getting lodged between the gaps. If you find that you are having a more difficult time cleaning your teeth due to gaps, or aren’t sure if you’re able to dislodge all of the food particles even with flossing, you may want to consider having the gaps between your teeth reduced.
Correct an Overbite, Underbite, or Crossbite
There are several different kinds of malocclusion. One of the most common kinds is an overbite, in which the upper teeth come out in front of, and overlap the lower teeth. An overbite can vary in severity, and in some cases can contribute to an uneven wearing down of the teeth, tooth decay, and cause jaw pain or difficulty speaking.
Underbites and crossbites can cause many of the same issues that an overbite does. Depending on how severe the malocclusion is, it can also alter the patient’s facial structure over time. While these conditions are easiest to correct in children, there are many treatment options also available to help adults correct their malocclusion.
Correct an Open Bite
When a patient has an open bite, their front teeth do not meet together even when the jaw is closed. In children or infants, this can be caused by the prolonged use of a pacifier or by pushing their tongue against the back of their teeth. It can also be tied to genetics and bone structure.
An open bite can make eating and speech more difficult. It can also lead to the back teeth wearing down prematurely, or fracturing due to stress. Having your open bite assessed can help prevent these issues.
Common Reasons Children Are Brought to the Orthodontist
Kids usually see us for the first time before they’re 7 years old, to make sure their new adult teeth are growing in well. Apart from a routine check, we can also help kids and their parents prevent dental issues altogether or address dental issues as they come up. We can offer insight into what needs to be treated right away, and what can wait.
We can also offer parents advice on what behaviors can damage teeth, and how to help your kids find alternatives to these behaviors.
Decrease the Likelihood of Dental Issues in the Future
When we have an idea of how the adult teeth are coming in, we can usually tell if there’s going to be a problem. An early diagnosis of problems like crooked or crowded teeth, malocclusion, and jaw alignment can help us figure out what treatment is going to work best. When these issues are discovered right away, treatment is usually faster and easier.
When alignment issues are fixed as soon as they’re discovered, it sets the stage for a healthier future. Patients who have dental issues resolved while they are young will usually have a much easier time with oral care once they’re adults. Getting the right orthodontic care now can result in stronger, healthier teeth in the long run.
Correct Dental Issues As They Arise
When there are known problems, it is simpler to address them in children than it is in adults. By having these issues addressed right at the onset, it can save a patient from having multiple issues that need to be dealt with all at once as an adult. If left untreated, a misaligned jaw or crooked teeth can actually worsen over time.
Address Habits That Damage the Teeth
Some common habits that can damage a child’s teeth are:
- Indulging in too much sugar
- Chewing on hard objects
- Not giving up the pacifier
- Grinding their teeth
- Thumb sucking for longer than four years
Our doctors can help you and your child find alternatives to these habits to help protect their teeth. Some issues can be corrected altogether with behavior modification, while others will need a varied approach, combining treatment with habit changes.
What Kind of Services Are Offered?
An orthodontic appointment is going to be a little different than an appointment with a dentist. While treatments can overlap with one another, in general dentists specialize in treating gum and tooth disease. Orthodontists treat issues that lead to gum and tooth disease by addressing how the teeth interact with each other and fixing alignment issues.
Have Your Smile Assessed Virtually
At Bowman DMD, we now offer a virtual smile assessment. First, you’ll complete some general information. Then you’ll upload a frontal and side profile photo of your face, as well as some pictures of your smile. After having your pictures assessed, you’ll be able to schedule a virtual consultation to talk over your concerns.
With our iTero Digital Impression Scanner, we are able to get a 3D image of your teeth and mouth. These 3D images are more accurate than traditional dental impressions, which helps us expedite the evaluation process. Not only is it fast, but there is also no radiation exposure, which renders it a completely safe process.
Due to the improved accuracy, the iTero scanner reduces the need for redos, and patients usually appreciate not having to deal with the mess and discomfort of physical impressions.
We offer different braces options for kids, teenagers, and adults. We offer mini-diamond and clear braces, as well as Invisalign overlay templates.
Invisalign has continued to grow in popularity. It offers a series of computer-generated aligners, which will gently and gradually shift your teeth. Invisalign is generally available to adult patients but is also available to some teenage patients as well.
Ready for a Smile That Will Light Up the Room?
If you’re ready to reclaim your smile, contact our compassionate team at Bowman DMD today! We have locations in Fort Walton Beach and Niceville, FL, and we can’t wait to help you along your journey to a healthier, more confident smile.