What do orthodontists do? They put braces in your mouth, of course! This is the part of the job that most people know about, but in fact, orthodontists do a lot more than apply braces, retainers, and aligners to patients' teeth. Here are a few other services that most orthodontists offer and that you might find handy at one stage of life or another.
To most people, mouth guards are something you buy over-the-counter at the pharmacy. These over-the-counter guards may work for protection for the average athlete who practices for an hour or two a day. But they are not a good choice for anyone who wears a mouth guard overnight to prevent tooth grinding. If the mouth guard is not designed appropriately for your teeth, it could push them out of place and cause misalignment issues over time. An orthodontist can make a custom mouth guard that is good for your teeth. Wearing such a guard can help ease jaw pain and TMJ trouble due to tooth grinding.
Orthodontists also make mouth guards for athletes. Those who practice for multiple hours per day or who do have braces or other dental appliances really should have a custom guard made for a better fit.
Sleep Apnea Appliances
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes you to stop breathing and wake up randomly throughout the night. This usually happens because the airway closes during sleep. Orthodontists can design custom-fitted sleep apnea appliances that will keep your airway open. This is a good alternative to wearing a CPAP device; it is cheaper, more comfortable, and does not make noise that keeps your partner awake!
Space maintainers are basically pieces of thick wire that are fitted along the tongue side of the teeth. They are connected around several of the teeth to hold them in place. These space maintainers are often used for kids who lose their baby teeth prematurely; they ensure there is a nice space for the adult tooth to erupt when it does arrive. Space maintainers can also be used for adults who lose a tooth and are not able to get a dental implant right away.
Orthodontists do a lot more than simply apply braces to teeth. If you think you might benefit from one of the devices described above, then contact an orthodontist in your area to learn more. They can offer guidance and give you a quote.