Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that focuses on diagnosing and treating “bad bites” (malocclusion). Common orthodontic treatments include braces, clear aligners and retainers.
The way your teeth fit together has a significant impact on your oral health. By improving the way your upper and lower teeth meet, you can reduce your risk for a host of oral health issues, including cavities, gum disease and excessive wear (erosion).

Who offers orthodontic treatment?
In most cases, orthodontists perform this type of treatment. An orthodontist is a doctor who receives two to three years of additional training after graduating from dental school. They focus on improving your bite. They don’t perform general dentistry treatments like fillings, crowns or bridges.

Who benefits from orthodontics?
Almost everyone can gain some benefit from orthodontics. But some people need treatment more than others. Many people seek orthodontic treatment because they want to improve the appearance of their smile. But in addition to cosmetic benefits, orthodontics offers improved chewing function and better oral health.
There are several treatments that fall under the specialty of orthodontics. Some of the most common include:

Braces gradually shift your teeth into their desired positions over time using a combination of brackets, bands and wires. There are different types of braces depending on your needs, including traditional metal braces and clear (ceramic) braces.

Clear aligners
Clear orthodontic aligners are a popular alternative to braces. Well-known brands include Invisalign and ClearCorrect. Rather than using brackets and wires to straighten your teeth, these systems use a series of custom-made, clear aligner trays. You wear each set of trays for one to two weeks before switching them out for the next set in the series. Over time, the clear aligners shift your teeth into their proper positions.

If you wear braces or clear aligners, you’ll need a retainer once your orthodontic treatment ends. A retainer is a custom oral appliance that keeps your teeth from drifting out of their proper positions. Your orthodontist can tell you how often you’ll need to wear your retainer to maintain the results of treatment.

Palate expanders
Orthodontists recommend some treatments during childhood. This is because a child’s facial bones are still developing and they’re much easier to move and manipulate. A palate (palatal) expander helps to widen a child’s upper jaw. Most children don’t need palate expanders. But under the right circumstances, these devices can create extra space without the need for tooth extractions or other procedures.


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