3 Services Orthodontists Offer Other Than Braces

Orthodontic offices evoke images of metal braces and headgear meant to correct misaligned teeth. But orthodontists offer a wide range of dental and lifestyle treatments – some of which can overlap with a general dentist. If you already have a satisfying relationship with an orthodontics practice, you might want to learn what services are offered to continue your visits to that office.

Here are a few of the potential treatments an orthodontist can offer other than braces. 

Teeth Grinding Treatment

Teeth grinding can wear down the protective enamel layer of your teeth, which leaves the underlying dentin more vulnerable to damage. The grinding can also start to cause problems with your jaw muscles that leads to discomfort and TMJ symptoms.

Your orthodontist can become one part of your treatment plan to stop grinding your teeth. The orthodontist can fit you with a retainer or mouth guard that you will likely need to wear at night, which is when most teeth grinding occurs.

Since teeth grinding is typically the result of stress, your orthodontist might also recommend that you visit a physical and/or psychological therapist to learn relaxation techniques and stretches that can help loosen up your jaw. 

Teeth Whitening

When you think of teeth whitening, you might think of the general or cosmetic dentist. But your orthodontist can also provide this service if you are using clear braces for orthodontic treatment.

The trays for clear braces are shaped similarly to the trays used for in-office teeth whitening. Your orthodontist can administer or prescribe a whitening solution to go down in the tray for a certain period of time to help whiten your teeth as they straighten.

Note that you want to follow the advice closely as to when and how long to use the whitening agent. The dentist office strength whiteners can cause severe tooth sensitivity if left on too long.

Sleep Apnea Device

Sleep apnea causes a person to take abnormal breathing breaks while sleeping. There are different types of sleep apnea, but obstructive sleep apnea is the most common and that's the type your orthodontist can help treat.

Orthodontists can create a custom-fit device that looks a bit like a clear retainer but has upper and lower sections that hold the mouth slightly open while sleeping. This positioning helps with the breathing obstruction that's creating the sleep apnea and likely a snoring problem.

You might still need to see a secondary doctor to learn what lifestyle changes to make to lessen the symptoms of sleep apnea. But the orthodontist-provided device can offer a more comfortable experience than the breathing face masks prescribed for later-stage patients. To find out more, speak with someone like Crest Hill Family Dental.