Orthodontics is a specialty within the field of dentistry. An orthodontist is, therefore, a type of dentist who specializes in diagnosing and treating misaligned teeth. The words orthodontist and orthodontics come from Greek words meaning “straight tooth.”
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child have their first visit with an orthodontist by the time they are seven years old. At that age, their adult teeth will be growing in, and the specialist will be able to spot developing problems like crowding or an overbite. In many cases, if your dentist thinks that you or your child needs orthodontic treatment, they will refer you to our office.
A Note About Education
An orthodontist begins their training by going to dental school for four years after graduating from college. At the end of those four years, they receive a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree (DMD) and then have to take an exam to earn their license. At this point, the candidate is a general dentist and can practice as such.
Dentists who want to become orthodontists need to undertake two or three more years of study at an orthodontic residency. After graduating from their residency, the candidate has to take and pass special examinations.
What Happens During the First Appointment?
The first appointment is a consultation. During this meeting, we will take the patient’s dental history and examine their teeth and mouth. We may ask the patient to open their mouth as wide as possible; we will listen for any clicking and check to see how sensitive the jaw muscles are. Both indicate the possibility of teeth grinding. We will also take pictures and X-rays of the patient’s mouth. Our orthodontist can then discuss recommendations and treatment options with the patient or their parents.
A truly qualified orthodontist will have stayed on top of all the changes in technology and techniques, so you want somebody with up-to-date equipment and state-of-the-art processes. If you live in the Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Freeport, Miramar Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Panama City Beach, Panama City or surrounding area, look no further than Dr. Runnels at Runnels Orthodontics! With offices in Destin and Panama City Beach, he is committed to providing his patients with the absolute best care. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to get started!