Orthodontists are dental health professionals who specialize in the treatment of musculoskeletal dental conditions. Examples of the conditions orthodontists specialize in include teeth misalignments and issues relating to the jaw structure and alignment.

Typically, orthodontists are the dental specialists you need to see if you have an over/under bite, an overjet, or crooked teeth/jaws. However, unlike the above issues that are fairly noticeable to a patient, other dental conditions may be more subtle.

In most cases, patients can live with such conditions for a very long time without realizing the need to visit an orthodontist. Thus, here are four subtle signs that indicate a person needs to see an orthodontist immediately.

Prolonged Pain or Soreness in the Mouth 

It is normal for a person to experience an occasional pain or soreness in their mouth, particularly after eating hard foods or talking for a long time. However, in most cases, the pain and soreness only last for a short while before going away completely. Thus, if you experience a prolonged soreness or pain in your mouth, there is an issue.

One of the main reasons you could experience prolonged pain and soreness is a misalignment in your teeth or jaws. Such misalignments disrupt the normal functionality of the nerves in your mouth, and as a result, you will experience prolonged pain or soreness.

Therefore, when you realize that the soreness or pain in your mouth has lasted for an extended period, it is advisable to consult an orthodontist. An orthodontist will conduct several imaging tests on you, such as X-Rays, to determine the root cause of the prolonged discomfort.

After establishing the root cause, which in most cases will be a misalignment, the orthodontists will provide the necessary treatment or procedure to alleviate the discomfort and prevent the scenario from happening again.

You Have Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition where a person's breathing stops while sleeping due to the throat becoming obstructed. Contrary to popular belief, sleep apnea arises from a dental deformity rather than a respiratory issue.

In most cases, sleep apnea can arise due to a narrow lower jaw that prevents the tongue from resting in its proper position. As a result, the tongue slips back into the throat, thereby inhibiting a person's breathing while they sleep.

Since jaws are part of the dental musculoskeletal structure, sleep apnea caused by a narrow jaw falls under an orthodontist's specialty. Thus, an orthodontist is ideally qualified to determine the best mode of treatment for your sleep apnea.

Difficulty in Speech Articulation 

Examples of difficulties with speech articulation include slurring or stuttering words. Unfortunately, a common misconception about difficulties in speech articulation is that it arises from the voice box. However, in most cases, the issue arises from a person's teeth and jaw structure, restricting the movement of the mouth in a manner that allows speech to get articulated properly.

Additionally, pronouncing sounds such as" th" requires the tongue to touch the front teeth. If you have an overjet or overbite, you may have difficulty pronouncing the "th" sound, and thus, your pronunciation of the sound gets slurred.

Fortunately, most of the root causes of slurring and stuttering fall under jaw and teeth structure misalignments. Thus, an orthodontist can help realign your jaw and teeth structure, enabling you to achieve proper speech articulation.

Reach out to a local orthodontist, such as Reed & Sahlaney Orthodontics, LLP, to learn more.