An orthodontist is someone a child or teen sees to get braces, right? Well, yes — but that's not the whole story. Orthodontists do treat a lot of children and teens since it is easiest to correct tooth alignment issues when someone is young. However, that does not mean adults can't or shouldn't see the orthodontist. Here are some signs that you, as an adult, should make an appointment with one of these professionals.
1. Your teeth have shifted out of alignment.
Maybe you had braces or similar orthodontics in the past, but your teeth have since shifted out of alignment. You're simply not happy with the straightness of your smile when you look in the mirror. This is a great reason to call an orthodontist. They can recommend an option, such as invisible aligners, that should realign your teeth within a few months. (It is easier to straighten your teeth as an adult when they were previously straightened; you probably just need a touch-up.)
2. You've been having jaw aches and TMJ issues.
An achy jaw can be a sign of any number of underlying conditions, but often, it is a sign of of dental misalignment. The same is true of TMJ pain, which is pain in the temporomandibular joint, the joint between your lower jaw and skull. An orthodontist can make some minor adjustment to your bite, which will help ensure that your jaw can sit in a more relaxed position when you're not chewing. This should lead to a reduction in the aches and discomfort you've been experiencing.
3. You have trouble cleaning certain teeth due to their position.
Do you have a couple of teeth that are out of alignment, and that you therefore struggle to keep clean? Maybe you've even already had cavities in these teeth, and try as you might, you simply cannot floss around them or brush them fully. An orthodontist can realign these teeth using braces, invisable aligners, or a similar method, making it easier to care for them. This can make it possible for you to keep a tooth that you may otherwise end up needing to have removed down the line.
If you are dealing with any of the issues above, do not hesitate to contact an orthodontist. They can take a look at your smile, snap a few x-ray images, and let you know what your best treatment options are.