Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of malocclusions, also known as improper bites and facial irregularities. Professional skill is needed to design, apply, and control corrective appliances (like braces or Invisalign) to bring the teeth, lips, and jaws into proper alignment. An orthodontist has specialized training beyond dental school, only practices orthodontics, and treats many more patients than a general dentist that may also place braces.

Few investments provide the excellent physical, psychological, and economic benefits of a healthy smile. Other benefits of orthodontic treatment include improvement in cleaning ability of the teeth, decreased injury risk of protruding teeth, improved function, and increased self-confidence due to the improved appearance.

Some reasons that orthodontic treatment may be needed are:

  • Upper front teeth flare excessively over the lower teeth
  • Upper front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth when biting together (overbite)
  • Upper front teeth are behind/inside the lower front teeth (underbite)
  • Upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting together (open bite)
  • Crowded or overlapping teeth
  • Center of the upper and lower teeth do not line up
  • Finger or thumb sucking habits which continue after the age of 6 or 7 years old
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
  • Lower jaw shifts to the side when biting together
  • Spaces between the teeth
What Is Orthodontics?