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What is the Difference Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist?

Many people don’t know the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist. This confusion is common because both doctors work on teeth. However, it is important to understand the difference between them. When you have a problem with your teeth, jaws, or gums, it is important that you are seeing the right professional for your needs. Learn more from Dr. Douglas Elliott at Elliott Orthodontics.

There are some similarities between the two doctors. Both dentists and orthodontists are involved in the care of teeth and solving dental problems. Additionally, both of them are dental school graduates. However, there are some differences between the two.

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What Goes on Below the Surface In Your Mouth

Two-thirds of what goes on in your mouth is below the surface. Most people are just concerned about having straight teeth and pearly whites, however, oral health goes far beyond that. That is why orthodontists use x-rays. Orthodontists use x-rays to check below the surface of the mouth to look for extra teeth, missing teeth, impacted teeth or teeth coming into the wrong positions. To learn more about the importance of x-rays keep reading from Dr. Douglas J. Elliott at Elliott Orthodontics.

Looking below the surface is so important because some things may be hiding in your mouth that can only be seen through x-rays. Impacted teeth may prevent adult teeth from “erupting”, or growing into your mouth properly. An impacted tooth can even harm the roots of nearby teeth, cause crowding and other teeth to move into unhealthy positions.

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Can Pacifiers and Thumb Sucking Affect My Child’s Teeth?

Many people wonder how pacifiers and thumb sucking can affect their child’s teeth. In short, it is a valid worry because if these actions are prolonged it can cause oral health issues. Thumb sucking or pacifier use is one of an infant’s natural reflexes, prolonged sucking can exert force on the teeth and jaws. To learn more about common orthodontic problems caused by prolonged thumb sucking or pacifier use, read on from Dr. Douglas J. Elliott at Elliott Orthodontics.

If your child sucks a thumb, finger, pacifier, or lips, their teeth or jaw may growth may be affected. These bone changes can actually occur as early as 18 months. The most common issues include: protruding front teeth, an open bite, or a crossbite. If you continue to notice prolonged thumb sucking or pacifier use, it is time to consult an orthodontist.

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Why Do Straight Teeth Matter?

Straight teeth help to create a beautiful smile. However, straight teeth actually do so much more than provide a great smile. Teeth are made to fit together in a certain way. If they don’t fit together properly, they can’t function properly, which can lead to a variety of oral health problems. To learn more about the importance of straight teeth from Dr. Douglas J. Elliott at Elliott Orthodontics, keep reading.

Straight teeth are easier to clean. It is easier to remove plaque when teeth are aligned. Additionally, crooked teeth provide more places for plaque to hide and get missed while brushing. Plaque buildup can result in cavities and gum inflammation.

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