What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a special discipline of dentistry concerned with aligning the teeth and jaws to improve one's smile and overall oral health. "Ortho" means correct or straight, and "odont" means tooth. A dentist will recommend braces to improve the patient's physical appearance and function of the teeth and jaws, if the teeth are crooked and malaligned, or the jaws are of unequal size. This condition is referred to as malocclusion, which comes from a latin word meaning 'bad bite'.
While the majority of orthodontic cases involve braces, there are alternatives that may be used for younger children or adults. Arch expanders for younger children can minimize or eliminate the need for braces when the problem is treated early enough.
Myofunctional Appliances utilize muscle forces to redirect and guide normal growth and development thereby minimizing jaw discrepancies; if treated during growth period. Invisible, clear plastic retainers, instead of braces, can be used by adults for mild to moderate crowding problems.

Who is an Orthodontist?

The practice of orthodontics requires professional skill in design, application and control of corrective appliances as braces to bring teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment and to achieve facial balance. An orthodontist is a specialist in this branch of dentistry equipped with a knowhow of facial growth and development, who can harness growth in a child for treatment if recommended, :treat an adolescent with or without extractions, treat an adult for crooked or malaligned teeth. He determines whether you need braces.

Why do I need orthodontic treatment?

Lots of kids don't have perfect teeth. Their teeth could be crooked or upper and lower jaws might not be the same size.

Some causes of crowding and malocclusion:

1. Premature loss of milk teeth.
2.Prolonged retention or delayed loss of milk teeth which would result in permanent tooth taking a deviant path.
3.Childhood habits persisting beyond 4 years of age, such as thumbsucking, finger/nail biting ,lip sucking, mouthbreathing, incorrect swallowing, all lead to irregular teeth alignment and formation.
Teeth that are crowded and even proclined could be accepted by some as a natural smile not to be tampered with; would nevertheless present problems in day today life.