When Should You Start Thinking About Orthodontics?

Dentists and Orthodontics Fort CollinsThe decision to begin orthodontics begins with a discussion and examination with Dr. Murri and Dr. Willey. We can help you determine if you or your child needs orthodontic treatment and help you find a reputable service provider. We work in conjunction with your orthodontist to ensure your teeth stay healthy throughout the orthodontics process. Getting ahead of the game with a consultation and examination can save you time and money down the road.


The Difference Between an Orthodontist and Dentist

Dentists and orthodontists work together to ensure you have a healthy, functional smile.  Understanding how dentists and orthodontists differ can help you understand what each is able to uniquely offer you. The practice of dentistry starts the same as it does for an orthodontist. Each field requires at least a bachelor’s degree before applying to an accredited dental school where a four-year doctoral program must be completed. Following this, a general dentist can begin to practice the skills they have learned where an orthodontist must continue on to orthodontics speciality training for specific issues not treated in general dentistry. In general, a dentist provides the following services:

Where a dentist must complete eight years of higher education, an orthodontist continues after dental school for an additional 2-3 years in an ADA-accredited university orthodontics program so they can provide treatment for:  misaligned teeth, crowded teeth, overbite, underbite, crossbite, spaces or gaps between the teeth or temporomandibular disorders(TMD). Both doctors work together to help you receive the comprehensive treatment you need.


Dentists and Orthodontists Working Together

Involving Family and Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies doctors and staff in your orthodontic treatment process is essential for having the outcomes that you seek.  Not only can we refer you to reputable orthodontists that we work with, we can also ensure that your teeth stay healthy during orthodontic treatment.  Your orthodontist is responsible for the correcting misaligned teeth and jaws with orthodontic appliances and/or bracket systems, but your dentist is tasked with keeping your teeth healthy during the process. Braces require increased efforts towards oral hygiene and tooth decay prevention.  Food is more easily trapped under brackets and archwires during orthodontic treatment so regular cleanings and exams at our office, along with your increased efforts toward brushing and flossing, are essential.


Orthodontic Evaluation by Age 7

We encourage our parents to make an appointment with an orthodontist for an orthodontics evaluation by the time your child is seven years old.  During this evaluation, your orthodontist can determine if your child needs to begin orthodontic treatment. Typically, orthodontic treatment will not commence until your child has lost most of his primary teeth and has most of his adult, permanent teeth in place.  The timing of this varies from child to child, but somewhere between ages 8-14 is typical for all adult teeth to be in. Prior to braces being placed, it is not uncommon that a child will need to undergo some kind of orthodontics treatment prior to braces to prepare for success with treatment.  This will depend on the severity of your child’s dental issues and the causes of the misalignment of your child’s teeth.


Common Signs that Orthodontics is Needed

Dr. Murri and Dr. Willey can assess your child for some of the most common issues that necessitate orthodontics. These are:

  • Misplaced midline.  When the center of your upper front teeth does not line up with the center of your lower front teeth.
  • Spacing.  Irregular gaps, or spaces, between the teeth as a result of missing teeth or extra space in the mouth.
  • Crowding.  When teeth have settled in too closely together or there are too many teeth for your mouth to handle.
  • Overbite. Where the upper front teeth lie too far forward over the lower teeth.
  • Underbite.  Where the lower teeth are too far forward or the upper teeth sit too far back.
  • Crossbite.  When the upper teeth do not come down slightly in front of the lower teeth–as they should–when biting together normally.
  • Open bite. When space exists between the biting surfaces of the front and/or side teeth when you bite down with your back teeth.  


Call to Schedule a Consultation

If you’d like to know if you need to start thinking about orthodontics and who we recommend and work with, call our Fort Collins office today at (970) 223-6101. For your convenience, you can also reach us after regular business hours by submitting a contact or appointment request online using the form below.