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What is orthodontics?

Gregory J. Jorgensen, DMD
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with the appearance, function, and alignment of the teeth and jaws. "Coined" in 1900 by Dr. Edward Angle, it is dentistry's oldest specialty.

If you want straighter teeth, your dentist may refer you to an orthodontist. Watch as Dr. Maria Lopez Howell explains what an orthodontist does to help your smile.

Dante A. Gonzales, DMD
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics
Orthodontics is the oldest specialties of dentistry and is focused on the alignment of the teeth and the occlusion (bite). Orthodontics uses different appliances to move the teeth and modify the growth of the jaws to establish a proper bite and proper alignment of the teeth. Proper alignment and a proper bite can improve the function of the teeth, the cleansibility, and ultimately, the longevity of the teeth. In addition, it can make for a better looking smile.
Kimberly Harms
Dentist
Orthodontics is a specialty area of dentistry that is officially known as Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. The purpose of orthodontics is to treat malocclusion (a "bad bite", which involves teeth that are crowded or crooked) through braces, corrective procedures and other "appliances" to straighten teeth and correct jaw alignment. An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.
Dustin S. Burleson, DDS
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics
Orthodontics is the specialty of dentistry devoted to building beautiful smiles by bringing teeth, lips, and jaws into proper alignment. Straight teeth function better, are easier to clean, and are more likely to last your lifetime. Properly aligned jaws may reduce the risk of jaw joint dysfunction (TMJ).

The practice of orthodontics involves the use of appliances to move teeth and modify growth of the jaws.
Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that focuses on the alignment of your teeth. Many people suffer from a malocclusion, which simply means that their teeth are out of alignment. If your teeth overlap of if they are unevenly space, you have a malocclusion. The same is true if your upper and lower teeth do not fit together the way they are supposed to. Orthodontics can be used to correct these imperfections. This is generally done using braces and retainers. Young children may also need the aid of a functional appliance to make sure their jaw develops correctly. Orthodontic care is generally provided by an orthodontist and can be costly depending upon the extent of your malocclusion.

Continue Learning about Orthodontics

Is orthodontic treatment necessary?
American Dental AssociationAmerican Dental Association
Orthodontic treatment is not necessary for everyone. The purpose of orthodontic treatment is to crea...
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What are the benefits of braces?
Dante A. Gonzales, DMDDante A. Gonzales, DMD
One advantage of braces is that it creates a good bite, which helps with overall function of your mo...
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Are braces affordable?
Dante A. Gonzales, DMDDante A. Gonzales, DMD
Affordable is a relative term, but most orthodontic offices will offer payment plans with no interes...
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When shopping for braces, what should I ask?
Gregory J. Jorgensen, DMDGregory J. Jorgensen, DMD
I think the most important questions you can ask are these three:What does the orthodontist propose?...
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.