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What is Orthodontics?

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Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry devoted to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of: (1) Malocclusions, which are misalignments of the teeth and/or jaws; (2) Growth & Development Problems related to the teeth, mouth, and jaws. The full name of this branch of dentistry is in fact Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics, but for brevity, the condensed term Orthodontics is most commonly used.

Orthodontic care combines art and science. Unlike any other field of dentistry, local anesthesia is not needed and the natural teeth are not altered in any way other than changing their alignment. Orthodontic treatment involves using gentle, noninvasive approaches to move teeth into a more esthetic and healthy position. In this way, a harmonious smile, bite, and facial appearance are created by simply expressing the potential that already exists in each person

Traditionally, orthodontic treatment has most commonly been carried out by placing braces on the front surface of teeth. These types of braces still remain a popular choice, but many other options now exist, such as Invisalign® (clear aligners) and Incognito™ (braces behind the teeth or “lingual braces”).

Picture of teeth with bracesPicture of teeth with crowns

Regardless of the type of appliance used, the basic principle of orthodontic treatment is always the same: Teeth are gradually repositioned through a series of small adjustments to achieve the desired esthetic and functional result.

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