Dentistry, like medicine, is full of very long words for simple things that come from the Latin, or the Greek, and sometimes both at once, which annoys ancient language purists no end. Dentists use these very long words because they can be understood by every dentist around the world, whereas translations from one everyday language to another can often cause confusion.
Take orthodontics for example. This wonderfully long and important word refers to the branch of dentistry that is concerned with making sure that your teeth fit together correctly. It covers not only your teeth, but your jaws, because if your jaws don’t line up, your teeth aren’t going to either. Teeth straightening doesn’t quite say enough of what we do, although it is mostly what we do, so that’s why we use orthodontics.
What does an orthodontist do?
At Harley Street Dental Clinic, we have several dentists who, after getting their degrees in dentistry, have gone on to get post-graduate training in orthodontics. These people really know their stuff about straightening teeth and jaws. What they do to your teeth will change your mouth for life, if you are disciplined and wear your retainer, otherwise your teeth will drift back to how they were.
Orthodontists have to be able to look at your teeth and understand how they got like that and how to put them right. With young children, they have to be able to look at teeth that have not even come through yet and know how they are going to erupt and how to encourage them to grow straight. They have to understand about how jaws grow so that if your child’s teeth aren’t meeting, they can realign their jaws while the face is still growing.
Along with all that biology, your orthodontist also has to have a good understanding of mechanics so that they know how to put your teeth right – how tight to make the wires and what angle to fix the brackets to your teeth to pull them where they need to go.
Teeth and jaw straightening is a skill requiring knowledge and experience, and a very long word to describe it.