Orthodontics is a specialty of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and correction of misaligned teeth and jaws, as well as misaligned bite patterns. It may also address dentofacial orthopedics, which is the modification of facial growth.
Orthodontists use fixed and removable dental devices, like braces, retainers, and bands, to change the position of teeth in the mouth. They treat dental abnormalities, including:
- Crooked teeth
- Bite problems, like an overbite or an underbite
- Crowded teeth, or teeth that are too far apart
- Jaw misalignment
The goal of orthodontic care is to improve a patient’s bite. Teeth that are straight and evenly spaced will align with opposing teeth in the jaw. A healthy bite ensures you can eat, chew, and speak properly. In the past, seeing an orthodontist was associated with children or teenagers who needed braces. However, orthodontists can correct dental problems at any age.