Many people confuse dentists and orthodontists or are not quite sure how the two differ. Put simply, dentists treat a broad range of general oral issues dealing with your teeth, gums, jaw, and even chronic bad breath. The responsibilities of an orthodontist, however, are more specific. Orthodontists help patients who suffer from malocclusion, which is the misalignment of the teeth or jaw. If you are curious about whether you should make an appointment, keep reading to discover just three reasons to see an orthodontist in your area.

Tooth Overcrowding

One of the most common reasons people pay their orthodontist a visit is because their teeth are overcrowded. While many patients may naturally be concerned primarily about their appearance, tooth overcrowding can result in other fairly serious consequences. For one, it may become more difficult to chew food normally. In severe cases, it may even be slightly painful. Young children may also suffer from an inability to pronounce certain sounds. Worst of all, tooth overcrowding can make it difficult to floss, which can lead to gum disease or infection. Even if you are unconcerned with the aesthetics of tooth overcrowding, an orthodontist can ensure that it never affects your health.


Even if your teeth are not overcrowded, they may require straightening. Fortunately, an orthodontist has many tools at their disposal to help you straighten your teeth. The most popular of these is dental braces, which can come in the form of a clear aligner or the more traditional metal-wired variety. By straightening your teeth, braces can help to prevent jawbone erosion and improve your overall oral health. Braces may even allow your teeth to better break down food, thereby improving digestion. If your teeth need straightening, see an orthodontist for an initial consultation and fitting application. 

Jaw Pain

If you wake up each morning with a feeling of slight soreness in your jaw, it may be a result of nighttime teeth grinding. This is known as bruxism, which is largely unconscious and often takes place while people sleep. If left untreated, it can eventually lead to the deterioration of your teeth and more severe jaw pain. An orthodontist can help prevent bruxism from getting worse, however, by creating a customized mouth guard that stops you from grinding your teeth at night. These mouth guards are usually made of acrylic, meaning they are both lightweight and comfortable.

If you'd like more information, visit a local orthodontist