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Orthodontics and Orthodontic Treatment

Updated on August 30, 2011

Orthodontics: The Basics

Orthodontics is a specialty within the field of dentistry. It is focused on the study and treatment of problematic bites. (The medical term for this is "malocclusion.") People may have problematic bites due to having irregular teeth and/or issues with the jaw.

Many people think mainly of issues with teeth when they think of orthodontics. However, orthodontic treatment can focus not only on irregular teeth (dental displacement) but also on the control and modification of facial growth. The latter is more correctly called "dentofacial orthopedics".

There are various reasons people seek orthodontic treatment. Often it is purely in order to look better--given the choice, people tend to prefer having even, straight, "normal" teeth. However, people with significant issues with facial structure may see an orthodontist that works on reconstructing the entire face rather than just on correcting issues with the teeth. This kind of treatment can help people with significant facial structure issues a functionally improved bite.

Common Conditions Treated by Orthodontists

Anteroposterior discrepancies

This type of condition is the most frequent reason people seek orthodontic treatment. Anteroposterior discrepancies are deviations between upper and lower teeth in the anteroposterior (front-to-back--as opposed to side-to-side) direction. A common example is "overbite"--when top teeth are too far forward relative to bottom teeth. Such conditions are often treated by using braces and headgear. The headgear is attached to the braces with hooks or a facebow and is anchored from the back of the head or neck with straps or a head-cap. Elastic bands are typically then used to apply pressure to the bow or hooks. This helps to slow or stop the upper jaw from growing, which can preventing or correct overbite.

Crowding of teeth

Another common situation leading to orthodontic treatment is crowding of the teeth. This occurs when there is not enough room for the normal number of adult teeth. Sometimes this can be corrected with braces, but in some cases one or more teeth may need to be removed in order to create enough room for the remaining teeth.

Orthodontic treatment creates great smiles

Orthodontic treatment can help correct irregular teeth and improve appearance.
Orthodontic treatment can help correct irregular teeth and improve appearance.


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      Sam N 5 years ago

      Does anyone know a good orthodontist Kendall? I just moved here but I have a really bad toothache from my braces, so I want to know what is going on. That would be great!

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      identalhub 7 years ago from United States

      Ya i did have the problem of crowding of teeth, which was resolved only with the help of orthodontic treatment.