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Team Approach to Orthodontics

The Team Approach

Rome was neither built in a day, nor could Rome have been designed and built by one person. Dental “teams” consisting of other dental specialties work and study together. They know how the other team members think; each is in tune with the expertise and experience of each other. Orthodontics will allow the teeth and jaws containing them to line up more functionally and aesthetically; (the architect and contractor put the foundations in the right position). The general dentists and other specialists, (subcontractors) each then apply their own special skills to complete the task. Here-in lies the strength of a team approach to smile design and proper management. In more complicated situations requiring a team approach (including replacement of missing teeth with dental implants) other dental professionals may be involved both in planning and in treatment.

The team members often include:

  • General Dentist: A general dentist is in a unique position. Depending upon the skill, training, experience and comfort level, a general dentist can practice any area of dentistry. Many “generalists” specialize in restorative or cosmetic dentistry; reshaping or restoring the teeth themselves, with veneers, crowns or other means. A general dentist may also perform orthodontic treatment including the use of braces or clear aligners.
  • Prosthodontist: Specialist in advanced tooth replacement and bite problems.
  • Periodontist: Specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of the supporting structures of the teeth (bone, connecting ligament and gum tissues); to enhance periodontal tissues — the “curtains” around the teeth.
  • Oral Surgeon: Specialist in oral (mouth) and maxillofacial (face and jaw) surgery — when “orthognathic” surgery (ortho – straight, gnathic – jaw) is needed to place the jaw bones (the foundations) into a proper relationship to each other to achieve proper biting relations and function in conjunction with orthodontic treatment.

Orthodontic treatment is an ingenious scientific discovery which has allowed the dental profession to accurately and precisely move teeth into not only improved aesthetic alignment, but also improved functional position. Harnessing the body’s innate abilities by which tissues normally “remodel” themselves to maintain a steady state, has allowed “smile designers” the many options described above. The end result; the ability to move teeth into improved position is an incredible contribution to a lifetime of dental health with a great smile.

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