Orthodontists’ Changing Roles

Before we get into a deep dive into the changing position of the orthodontist, it’s probably a good idea to refresh our memory on who they are. This will be for the good of all of us who are first meeting them. Orthodontists, as it turns out, are dental surgeons who deal with tooth alignment problems. It’s worth remembering at this stage that teeth, like all other parts of the body, are attached to other parts of the body, specifically the jaws and the maxilla bones. Now, how the teeth protrude from these other supporting sections has a lot to do with how well they’re aligned. View Meschke Orthodontics – Wichita.

To be honest, only a few people have what can be described as perfect tooth alignment; that is, if we can agree on what we mean by “perfect.” This is normal; after all, only a few of us have perfect postures or complexions. We don’t mind flaws as long as they’re within a reasonable range. However, if they are outside of that range (or if we persuade ourselves that they are, even if they aren’t), we will become distressed and seek ways to fix them. This is where orthodontists come in: as the professionals to see whether you believe your teeth are seriously misaligned and need to be corrected.

Before we go any further, it’s worth remembering that in some situations, the imperfection of teeth alignment can be so serious that it creates functional problems in the lives of those who are affected (that is, beyond the aesthetic concerns). This is similar to when the misalignment of teeth is severe enough to make chewing food difficult or speech difficult. Orthodontists were traditionally called in at this stage to correct serious teeth alignment issues that were literally interfering with the lives of the people with whom they were present. The average orthodontist (of which there were few in those days) would spend his or her days jumping between hospitals, treating patients with serious misalignment issues, usually children. That was how the orthodontists spent the majority of their time.

Of course, orthodontists are also concerned with the correction of teeth alignment problems that impact things like speech and chewing in the people with whom they work today.

But that task, of correcting major tooth alignment problems that cause chewing and speech difficulties, is far from the one that most orthodontists today perform. In order to give people perfect smiles, the orthodontist is moving into a more involved role, namely, the role of evening out relatively minor teeth alignment issues (for which he would probably not have been called before). In this way, the orthodontist becomes a cosmetic surgeon over time. Today’s orthodontists expend more time on this cosmetic role than on the’more practical’ role of fixing major teeth misalignment problems, which was once their forte. This shift can be attributed, at least in part, to a growing trend in which the world is becoming increasingly image conscious, with even the ‘smallest’ of issues (such as teeth alignment) becoming a major source of concern for many people. At the end of the day, the orthodontist is constantly being called upon to act as a cosmetic dentist, in addition to being more of a “emergency dentist.”