Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontists are dental specialists who have completed additional years of education and training beyond dental school to become experts in aligning teeth and jaws.
The most common orthodontic treatment is braces, which use brackets, wires, and rubber bands to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. Other orthodontic appliances, such as aligners or retainers, may also be used to achieve a straighter smile.
Orthodontic treatment can improve the appearance of the teeth and face, as well as correct bite problems, such as overbite, underbite, crossbite, and open bite. It can also improve oral health by making it easier to clean teeth and reducing the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and jaw problems.
Orthodontic treatment typically begins during childhood or adolescence, but it can also be performed on adults. The length of treatment varies depending on the severity of the orthodontic problem, but it typically lasts for several months to a few years.
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*Malocclusion is the technical term for teeth that don’t fit together correctly. Malocclusions not only affect the teeth, but also the appearance of the face. Most malocclusions are inherited; however some are due to acquired habits such as thumb sucking and tongue thrusting. The spacing left from an adult tooth being extracted or an early loss of a baby tooth can also contribute to a malocclusion.